Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter
Chapel Hill, NC, United States (4E Sports) – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has assured that the league is doing everything it can to reduce, prevent and treat head injuries.
Goodell made this guarantee during a speech entitled “Progress on the Road to a Safer Game”, that he delivered at the UNC Department of Exercise and Sport Science’s annual Carl Blyth Lecture.
During his speech, Goodell cited UNC professor Kevin Guskiewicz’s findings that research showed that the most severe head impacts occur on kickoffs.
Guskiewicz reached the conclusion after placing accelerometers in the helmets of college football players in order to measure the frequency, location and magnitude of head impacts.
As a result, the NFL moved its kickoffs from the 35-yard line instead of the 30, which resulted in more touchbacks, fewer returns and a 40 percent reduction in the amount of concussions in each of the past two seasons.
“There’s still a great deal we don’t know about the effects of head injuries, but one thing is for sure — we can and must do more to reduce, prevent and treat them,” Goodell said.
“Scientists and doctors know more about concussions than they did even a few year ago.
“The key issue is: How do we use this new understanding to make the game safer and more exciting in the future?” he added.
The Blyth Lecture is named for the late Carl Blyth, a leading researcher in the field of athletic injuries who established the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at UNC in 1965.
Goodell said Blyth played a key role in getting spearing out of football. He added that horse-collar tackles, helmet slaps and hits to the head of a defenseless receiver are no longer allowed.
“Improving safety in sports at every level is not just a goal, it is essential,” Goodell said. “We need a culture of safety for every sport so that all of us who love sports can say with confidence about the future, the best is yet to come.”
The league recently donated $30 million to the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on brain injuries. The NFL also is giving $60 million to General Electric to develop diagnostic tools for concussions and to create better protections for players’ heads.
Aside from that, Goodell said the NFL will continue to make rule changes and enforce them strictly in order to increase safety.