Knockout: NFL Commits $100M to Concussion Initiative
On September 14, 2016, the NFL announced a new initiative that targets the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of head injuries. As a part of this initiative, Roger Goodell explained that the league and its 32 owners will devote $60 million toward developing technology that will help player safety, such as improved helmets. The league will also provide $40 million over the next five years towards funding medical research, primarily dealing with neuroscience, or the ultimate effects of the head injuries.
This initiative, labeled as the “Play Smart. Play Safe.” initiative, will look to improve on the recent progress the NFL has made on the health and safety of its players, according to Goodell in his open letter. He went on to explain that the NFL’s intention is to provide better communications regarding its concussion-related efforts, saying that “we recognize it hasn’t always been clear how connected these initiatives are to player health and safety. Moving forward, we will do a better job explaining all of these changes and the reasons behind them to our players and our fans.”
Since 2002, the NFL has already made 42 rule changes in an effort to further protect players. This announcement follows a roughly $1 billion settlement regarding thousands of concussion lawsuits brought by former players that is currently progressing through the courts, and just this past week, the NFL and its players union began investigating the execution of concussion protocol after Cam Newton suffered from targeted hits to the head in the season opener.