NFL launches new $100 million concussion initiative

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The NFL has launched a new initiative designed to better protect its players against head injuries.

Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter on playsmartplaysafe.com stating that the new program will attempt 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 by all who love it."

"The NFL has been a leader on health and safety in many ways, and we've made some real strides in recent years," Goodell wrote. "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 NFL will start with an additional $100million in support for independent medical research and engineering advancements. The league will devote $60m to technological development, and $40m toward funding medical research into the effects of head injuries, according to a press release.

"We will continue to crowdsource and support the best ideas from engineering experts around the world so that they can apply their expertise to these challenges," Goodell wrote. "Consider football helmets, for example. Many biomechanical engineers believe that better helmets can be developed to do more to protect against concussions. The automobile industry, for one, has used modern tools and rich data analysis to advance car safety in significant ways.

"Another of our goals is to explore the concept of position-specific helmets. After all, we know from tracking game and injury data that linemen experience different impacts than a wide receiver or a defensive back. Yet their protective equipment is the same. We want engineers to use that information to consider design changes that address the specific needs of each position."

The NFL has faced backlash in recent years for its handling of concussions and concussion symptoms. Many retired players have suffered from life-altering diseases as a result of their many hits to the head that went unchecked, but Goodell wants to help expand the league's medical knowledge as well.

"We commit to investing in and partnering with pre-eminent experts and institutions to advance progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of head injuries," he wrote. "We have already collaborated with some of the world's leading researchers and innovators in this area - even providing funding to some of our biggest critics. But this new initiative will take us far beyond our current commitments.

"The goal is to pursue scientific research to examine the long-term effects of concussion, the incidence and prevalence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and what can be done to improve long-term player health. This includes investing in research to explore new and effective ways to treat concussions."