The NFL announced in a letter it will commit $100 million dollars towards developing better equipment and medical research as part of a large health and safety initiative, “Play Smart. Play Safe,” aimed at protecting its players from repeated head trauma and the long-term effects that constant hits to the head, neck and spinal area can lead to. The league has been under intense scrutiny for its handling of such injuries even though commissioner Roger Goodell claims in the letter that the league “has been a leader on health and safety in many ways.” That might be the case, but many believe they haven’t done nearly enough, especially as more former players come forward and publicly discuss how they’re suffering from symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), or, like in the cases of retired stars Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, it’s revealed after they take their own lives.
Goodell stated that the league is, “establishing an independent, scientific advisory board comprising leading doctors, scientists and clinicians to engage in a clear process to identify and support the most compelling proposals for scientific research into concussions, head injuries and their long-term effects,” and laid out the “four pillars” to help keep players safe on the field, and hopefully after they’ve walked off of it: protecting players, advanced technology, medical research and sharing progress.
The news comes on the same day that two Denver Broncos, safety Darian Stewart and linebacker Brandon Marshall, were each fined for helmet-to-helmet hits on Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.