NFL announces ‘Play Smart. Play Safe.’ initiative

Head injuries in the NFL are not a new phenomenon, by any means. Players have been reporting concussions for over 20 years. However the spotlight has been placed more recently on the long-term health effects caused by these traumas. Because of this, the NFL has issued new protocol in an attempt to keep players as safe as possible.

Last week, the NFL 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.

They have set forth four pillars to demonstrate how they will achieve this goal. They include: protecting players; advanced technology; medical research and sharing progress.

The league has made 42 rule changes since 2002 in order to protect players, and will continue to make changes as they see fit.

Over the years changes have been made to include prohibiting a runner or a tackle from initiating contact against an opponent with the top or crown of the helmet, expanding the horse collar rule to include when a defender grabs the jersey at the nameplate or above and pulls a runner toward the ground.

They’ve also moved the restraining line for the kicking team from the 30- to the 35-yard line to reduce the risk of injury on kickoffs. This year the league also moved the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a kickoff to the 20- to the 25- yard line.

In a separate attempt to ramp up player safety, the “NFL Game Day Concussion Protocol”, which was first implemented in 2009, adjusted in 2011 and tweaked in the last five years, has been updated to include the introduction of disciplinary action in 2016 for teams that do not adhere properly.

Under this new policy, when a team’s medical staff or other employee is determined to violate the concussion protocol, the team could be subject to discipline – which could include either fines of anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 for a first violation, or loss of draft picks.

Fines for violators will ramp up to a minimum of $100,000 for a second and each additional violation of the concussion protocol.

The league also employs two medical spotters positioned up in the booth to watch the game with binoculars and video replay so that they can identify injuries that others may have missed. The “eyes in the sky” have no team affiliations.

What The Carlson Law Firm Can Do For Injured Players

If you or someone you love formerly or currently plays professional or collegiate football, or arena football and is suffering from complications stemming from concussions or traumatic head injury, please do not hesitate to contact The Carlson Law Firm. Head injuries sustained in the NFL have been linked to serious neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s. We have medical professionals testing players and former players to see if their conditions qualify for a case. Our law firm is capable of NFL concussion litigation and is ready to fight for you.

Contact any one of our 11 offices today for an initial consultation. We have staff available to help 24/7. We care, we can help.


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