Player Health and Safety
Announces Play Smart. Play Safe., a New Commitment to Improve Player
Health and Safety
Initiative includes $100 million in new
funding for independent medical research and engineering advancements
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today announced
the launch of Play Smart. Play
Safe. —an initiative to drive progress in
the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of head injuries, enhance medical
protocols and further improve the way the game is taught and played.
To begin the initiative, the NFL and its 32
club owners have pledged an additional $100 million in support of independent
medical research and engineering advancements—building on the $100 million that
the NFL and its partners are already spending on medical and neuroscience
research—and they have committed to anything and everything to make the game of
“The NFL has been a leader on health and safety
in many ways, and we've made some real strides in recent years,” Commissioner
Goodell wrote in an open letter to fans. “But when it comes to addressing head
injuries in our game, I'm not satisfied, and neither are the owners of the
NFL’s 32 clubs. We can and will do better.”
The Commissioner and the NFL owners said their
primary interest is in keeping players and the public informed about important
health issues. They acknowledged that while the NFL can never completely
eliminate the risk of injury in football, the league will strive to make the
game safer for professional athletes down to young athletes first learning how
Commissioner Goodell said, “Everyone looks at
these great players who perform on that field and do extraordinary things. But
they're human beings with families, with people that rely on them. And they
rely on us to take the right steps and the appropriate steps to be able to protect
them. Just like the fans want us to protect the game and to grow the game, they
want us to protect those players.”
To underscore how the NFL plans to achieve its
goal of making the game safer, the Play Smart. Play Safe. initiative is
organized under four pillars:
- Protecting Players:
Making changes on and off the field to protect the health and safety of every
player in the NFL.
- Advanced Technology:
Championing new developments in engineering, biomechanics, advanced sensors and
material science that mitigate forces and better prevent against injuries in
- Medical Research:
Supporting independent research to advance progress in the prevention,
diagnosis and treatment of head injuries, and accelerate scientific
understanding of their long-term impact.
- Sharing Progress:
Sharing what the NFL learns across all levels of football—and to other sports
and society at large.
The new, long-term commitment builds on
progress the NFL—working with all 32 clubs and the NFL Players Association—has
made in recent years to improve health and safety.
The NFL has made 42 rule changes since 2002 to
protect players, improve practice methods, better educated players and
personnel on concussions, and strengthen our medical protocols. The NFL has
transformed the sideline, staffing each game with 29 medical professionals.
Along with the NFLPA, the league recently announced a new policy to enforce the
NFL Game Day Concussion Protocol. This new agreement makes clear that there
will be serious consequences for any team that fails to follow the protocols.
For more information about the initiative, and
to read the Commissioner’s letter to fans, please visit www.PlaySmartPlaySafe.com.
# # #