Non-Standard Facemasks Pose Injury Risk

As part of the NFL’s continuing effort to protect players from unnecessary risk, the use of non-standard/overbuilt facemasks will be prohibited for the 2014 season. The four players who wore them last year had medical exemptions and may apply again this year.

Recent research strongly suggests that non-standardized facemasks present particular safety risks and should not be used. Among other issues, those facemasks more frequently fail the certification tests conducted by NOCSAE, the organization that approves equipment. Helmets and facemasks must be certified by NOCSAE to be used in the NFL.

Research was conducted last year under the supervision of Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz of the University of North Carolina and Dr. Erik Swartz of the University of

New Hampshire. Dr. Swartz concluded that: “While it may seem logical that adding additional bars to a football facemask would make it more protective, our research suggests that overbuilt facemasks could actually increase the risk of injury to both the player wearing it as well as to other players on the field.”

A summary of the research outlines four primary concerns, including noting that that added weight negatively affects the structural integrity of the helmet and also fatigues the neck extensors, may be seen here.

Based on this research, and consistent with the recommendations of the Competition Committee, the Owners’ Health & Safety Committee, the Player Safety Advisory Panel, and the

HNS Subcommittee on Safety Equipment and Playing Rules, non-standard or overbuilt facemasks will not be permitted on the field for the 2014 season.

Take a look here to view several photos of standard and “overbuilt” facemasks to illustrate the distinctions between the two. The latter are currently characterized by more bars, smaller spaces between the bars, and a generally larger coverage area.

No new medical exemptions will be granted unless the player demonstrates both a genuine medical need for use of a non-standard mask and that no other alternative will provide similar safeguards.

Roster of Officials Finalized

THREE NEW REFEREES, 13 FIRST-YEAR NFL OFFICIALS AMONG 2014 CLASS

The NFL roster of game officials for the 2014 season will include 13 first-year NFL officials – and three new referees – among the group of 119, the league announced today.

First-year official BRAD ALLEN will join the NFL as a referee from the Atlantic Coast Conference, where he has been a referee for the past nine seasons and was regarded as one of the best in college football. Allen has refereed several major bowl games, including the 2012 Rose Bowl and 2014 Sugar Bowl. Allen replaces veteran referee MIKE CAREY, who will join CBS Sports as a rules analyst.

Veteran NFL officials RONALD TORBERT and CRAIG WROLSTAD are also new referees in 2014, replacing retired referees SCOTT GREEN and RON WINTER. Wrolstad has spent the past 11 seasons as a field judge while Torbert has worked the past four as a side judge.

The 13 first-year NFL officials are all graduates of the NFL Officiating Development program, which is designed to train top college football officials in all aspects of NFL officiating.

“Our first-year officials were all among the best in college football, including Brad Allen, one of our new referees,” said NFL Vice President of Officiating DEAN BLANDINO. “Brad was an outstanding referee for many years in the ACC and we are excited about having him on the field. Ron and Craig have proven to be outstanding NFL officials and they also are ready to assume the referee position.”

For the complete release, click here

Update on NFL Concussion Litigation

NFL, CLASS COUNSEL JOINT STATEMENT ON FILING OF REVISED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

The National Football League and counsel for the retired player plaintiffs announced today a revised settlement agreement in the NFL concussion litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In the revised agreement the NFL’s obligations under the monetary award fund will not be capped at any specified amount. This means that once the compensation program is established funds will be available to any retired player who develops a qualifying neurocognitive condition.

The revised settlement agreement is the result of several months of intensive work under the supervision of presiding Judge Anita B. Brody and the Court’s special master, Perry Golkin. The parties are grateful to Judge Brody and Special Master Golkin for their guidance in helping to reach the agreement submitted for preliminary approval today.

Consistent with the settlement announced last year, the revised agreement provides a wide range of benefits to retired NFL players and their families, including a separate fund to offer all eligible retirees a comprehensive medical exam and follow-up benefits, and an injury compensation fund for retirees who have suffered cognitive impairment, including dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or ALS.  Where the retiree is deceased or unable to pursue his claim, a family member may do so on his behalf.   While actuarial estimates from both parties supported the $765 million settlement that was announced in August, this new agreement will ensure funds are available to any eligible retired player who develops a compensable injury.

“This agreement will give retired players and their families immediate help if they suffer from a qualifying neurocognitive illness, and provide peace of mind to those who fear they may develop a condition in the future,” said co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss. “This settlement guarantees that these benefits will be there if needed, and does so without years of litigation that may have left many retired players without any recourse.”

“Today’s agreement reaffirms the NFL’s commitment to provide help to those retired players and their families who are in need, and to do so without the delay, expense and emotional cost associated with protracted litigation. We are eager to move forward with the process of court approval and implementation of the settlement,” said NFL Senior Vice President Anastasia Danias.

The agreement also provides that the NFL will set aside $10 million for education on concussion prevention, as well as pay the costs of providing notice to the class and for administration of the settlement. If the Court grants preliminary approval, retired players will be formally notified of the settlement, with a final approval hearing likely to occur later this year.

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NFL Update—June 25, 2014

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Former Players Je’Rod Cherry & Evan Moore Earn U.K. TV Studio Analyst Posts For 2014 NFL Regular-Season Sunday

Former players JE’ROD CHERY and EVAN MOORE from the NFL Boot Camp: Broadcasting class of 2014 will spend one regular-season Sunday working on-air for one of the league’s United Kingdom television partners.

The announcement was made at the conclusion of the NFL Boot Camp: Broadcasting in Mt. Laurel, NJ, where Cherry (New Orleans, Philadelphia and New England), Moore (Green Bay, Cleveland, Seattle and Philadelphia) and 22 other players spent four days learning from talent, producers and executives from each of the NFL’s broadcast partners. The dates of the assignments will be determined closer to the kickoff of the 2014 NFL season.

For the complete release, click here.

Seahawks Announce First Event of 2014 NFL Kickoff

  • NFL Kickoff Run to officially ignite NFL Kickoff Week Celebration
  • 5k and Kids ‘Play 60’ Fun Run to finish on the sideline at CenturyLink Field
  • Mack Strong named as official Seahawks race ambassador

RENTON, Wash. –Seattle Seahawks and the NFL announced today that online registration for the 2014 NFL KICKOFF RUN is now open at Seahawks5k.com. The race is set for Monday, September 1 with a course that begins outside CenturyLink Field and ends with fans running through the tunnel onto the field

The NFL Kickoff Run will be the first official event of 2014 NFL KICKOFF and launches a week of festivities leading up to the Seahawks versus Green Bay Packers game on Thursday, September 4. More details about 2014 NFL KICKOFF will be announced soon.

“The NFL Kickoff Run is a great opportunity for Seahawks fans from around the Northwest to participate and celebrate the start of the regular season,” said Seahawks President Peter McLoughlin. “The 5k and Kids Play 60 Fun Run is open to fans of all ages. Join us and help set the stage for a very memorable week.”

The run will benefit Spirit of 12 Partners, Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington State, Camp Fire Snohomish, Girl Scouts of Western Washington, Treehouse, and YMCA of Greater Seattle. Spirit of 12 Partners represent youth oriented, community-based nonprofit organizations. During the 2013 season, more than $365,000 was raised, the most successful year in the program’s 10-year history.  More than $2.6 million has been raised since the program launched in 2004.

This season opening NFL KICKOFF RUN marks the first time that fans have been invited to take CenturyLink Field as runners and race down the sidelines where the Seahawks play their home games. The schedule for Monday September 1, 2014 includes:

  • 5K Run/Walk –7:30 a.m. The 5K Run/Walk will start at 7:30 a.m. along Occidental Avenue and go South through the streets of Seattle before finishing back on the turf at CenturyLink Field
  • Play 60 Kids Fun Run –The NFL ‘Play 60’ Kids Fun Run is a half-mile, non-competitive run for kids aged 4-12 and will immediately follow the 5K
  • Post-Race Fan Fest- After the event, fans convene for great Seahawks raffle prizes, awards and refreshments on the field plaza at CenturyLink Field

“This race is a fun way for fans of football and fitness to help kick off the NFL season and celebrate the Super Bowl XLVIII champion Seattle Seahawks,” said Peter O’Reilly, Vice President of Fan Strategy and Marketing for the National Football League. “The NFL Kickoff Run also aligns with our long-standing commitment to health and wellness throughout the country, as well as our NFL PLAY 60 initiative to fight childhood obesity.”

“We’re thrilled to see this race embraced by the Seahawks organization and the NFL, as running continues to evolve and reach passionate football fans,” said Jamie Monroe, President of Easy Day Sports, the producer of the event. “The NFL Kickoff Run presents Seahawks fans and the City of Seattle with a unique opportunity to engage with their team and local charities in a fun and meaningful way.”

For more information and to register visit Seahawks5k.com

About Easy Day Sports

Headquartered in Coronado, California, Easy Day Sports is a boutique event production agency whose emphasis is creating memorable life experiences through premier, professionally managed endurance sports events. The company’s name is deeply inspired by the Navy SEAL motto “The only easy day was yesterday.” This is embodied through superior event production and a tireless commitment to excellence. Contact information for Easy Day Sports can be found at easydaysports.com

NFL Update—June 18, 2014

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NFL Rookie Symposium Kicks Off Sunday, Sessions to Stress History, Total Wellness, Experience & Professionalism

NFC rookies to attend June 22-25, AFC rookies June 25-28

The NFL kicks off its 17th Rookie Symposium on Sunday, June 22, emphasizing the sport’s legacy and tradition of character and leadership, as well as social and professional responsibility. The four-day orientation held at the Bertram Hotel in Aurora, Ohio, will introduce the 2014 NFL Draft class to life in the NFL prior to the rookies reporting to training camps next month.

The four core teaching principles of the Rookie Symposium are NFL History, Total Wellness, Professional Experience and Workplace Conduct. The symposium includes presentations, videos, and workshops on player health and safety, decision making, mental health, substance abuse, workplace respect and maintaining positive relationships.

Guest speakers at the Rookie Symposium (June 22-25 for NFC rookies, June 25-28 for AFC rookies) include current and former players who have experienced a wide-range of successes and challenges in their football careers and personal lives.

Presenters include former NFL players LA VAR ARRINGTON, CRIS CARTER, GARRY COBB, DONOVIN DARIUS, WARRICK DUNN, KEITH ELIAS, LUTHER ELLISS, EDDIE GEORGE, MIKE HAYNES, TERRYTANK” JOHNSON, WARREN SAPP and J.R. TOLVER. They will be joined by current players including Cardinals safety TYRANN MATHIEU,Bengals running back GIOVANI BERNARD, Bears guard KYLE LONG, Colts punter PAT MC AFEE and Bears safety RYAN MUNDY.

Atlanta Falcons assistant general manager SCOTT PIOLI and Jacksonville Jaguars head coach GUS BRADLEY will speak to the rookies about expectations of football players at the professional level.

2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee AENEAS WILLIAMS will conduct a history session for the rookies at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

Additional speakers include representatives from the NFL office and club personnel and professionals in specialized fields.

Panel discussion topics include “Expectations of an NFL Player,” “Transitioning to the NFL,” “Reaching Out,” “Defining Success,” and “Staying in the Game.”

All rookies also will participate in a PLAY 60 youth football clinic with children from the Cleveland area at the Cleveland Browns Training and Administrative complex (NFC rookies June 24 at 9:30 AM; AFC rookies June 27).

About NFL Player Engagement

NFL Player Engagement assists players in reaching their highest potential on and off-the-field with guidance, support, and resources provided before, during, and after their NFL experiences. NFL Player Engagement works with three core audiences: Prep, Life, and Next. NFL Life (current players) and NFL Next (Formers) reach more than 2,000 NFL players and spouses each year through a variety of programs and services focused on career development, financial and continuing education, as well as personal, psychological, and physical wellness. NFL Prep provides high-school and college student-athletes of all sports with tools to help them succeed in life, focused on awareness, prevention, and education. More information can be found at http://www.nflplayerengagement.com.

Statement by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Chuck Noll

What set Chuck Noll apart was his remarkable ability as a teacher. His subject was football and his students became four-time Super Bowl champions. Coach Noll’s quiet leadership produced extraordinary results that deeply inspired players, coaches and fans. He always put the team, his players, and the game first. His legacy of excellence will forever be an important part of the history of the Steelers and the NFL. We extend our condolences to Chuck’s wife Marianne, his son Chris, the Noll family, and the Steelers organization.

Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons

Hard Knocks 2014

HBO SPORTS®, NFL FILMS AND THE ATLANTA FALCONS JOIN FORCES FOR

A NEW SEASON OF THE ULTIMATE SPORTS REALITY SERIES WHEN

HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE ATLANTA FALCONS,

CHRONICLING THE RIGORS AND DAILY DEMANDS OF NFL TRAINING CAMP, DEBUTS TUESDAY, AUG. 5, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO

HBO Sports, NFL Films and the Atlanta Falcons team up for an all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE ATLANTA FALCONS debuts in August. The first sports-based reality series – and one of the fastest-turnaround programs on TV – kicks off its five-episode ninth season, presented in HD, TUESDAY, AUG. 5 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. Other hour-long episodes debut subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, with an encore play Wednesday at 11:00 p.m., culminating in the Sept. 2 season finale.

“We are thrilled that the ninth edition of the HARD KNOCKS series will spotlight the Atlanta Falcons,” says Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports. “It’s exciting to feature a team, a franchise and a city for the first time on HARD KNOCKS. We are grateful to Coach Mike Smith and the entire organization for agreeing to participate and look forward to what we expect to be one of the most exciting seasons in HARD KNOCKS history. The series has become one of the few summertime programs that is truly appointment TV and we can’t wait for the premiere on August 5th.”

“We’re excited to work with the Atlanta Falcons and HBO Sports on HARD KNOCKS,” says Howard Katz, COO of NFL Films and NFL Senior Vice President of Broadcasting. “We want to thank Arthur Blank, Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith and the entire Falcons’ organization for the trust they have in NFL FILMS by allowing us unprecedented access into their training camp. The Falcons present numerous storylines with a veteran coaching staff, star players and newcomers all coming together to attempt to rise up back to the top of the NFC.”

For the complete release, click here