League outlines steps taken to address concussions

Updated: August 15, 2007, 8:21 AM ET
ESPN.com

The NFL has outlined for players, coaches, and staff members the recent steps that have been taken to address the management of concussions in the league.

"We want to make sure all NFL players, coaches and staff members are fully informed and take advantage of the most up-to-date information and resources as we continue to study the long-term impact of concussions," commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday in making the announcement.

The NFL's Numbing Problem

While the NFL is taking steps to address its concussion issues, Page 2's Gregg Easterbrook addresses another health issue in his Tuesday Morning Quarterback column.

Easterbrook suggests that the use of local anesthetics -- such as those used by dentists -- to numb pain and overcome injuries is a dangerous practice and should be banned.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback

"Because of the unique and complex nature of the brain, our goal is to continue to have concussions managed conservatively by outstanding medical personnel in a way that clearly emphasizes player safety over competitive concerns," Goodell said in his statement.

The steps were outlined in a memo that will be sent to all NFL players and team personnel along with other information, the league said. Among the details:

• The NFL held a medical conference in June on the subject of concussions. Team physicians and athletic trainers from every NFL team and active players and medical representatives of the NFL Players' Association were in attendance. The conference reviewed the current medical and scientific research and included presentations by doctors and scientists from within and outside the league.

• The league has prepared an informational pamphlet on concussions for players and their families describing the symptoms of concussions, what NFL players should look for in themselves or a teammate if they suspect a possible concussion, and what NFL families should know about concussions.

• The league has established a hotline to report information on a confidential basis about an NFL player being forced to practice or play against medical advice.

• The NFL and the players' union medical advisors prepared a summary of key factors in deciding when players can safely return to the same game or practice. These factors have been identified in medical studies and are used by NFL team medical staffs. They emphasize that concussions in the NFL should continue to be managed conservatively.

• Neuropsychological testing has been expanded for all NFL players. Also, players who have been removed from a game due to a concussion will be re-tested during the season as part of the medical staff's treatment of the player and to assist in determining when players can return to practice and play.

The NFL said it will continue to research and study all elements of concussions with a particular focus on long-term effects.

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