John Madden supports game changes

Updated: April 4, 2011, 10:27 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Concussions in football games are taken more seriously than ever before. And going forward, that will hold true in the next edition of the "Madden" football video game franchise when concussed players won't be allowed to return to the field in the game they are injured.

"Concussions are such a big thing, it has to be a big thing in the video game," Madden told The New York Times in a telephone interview. "It starts with young kids -- they start in video games. I think the osmosis is if you get a concussion, that's a serious thing and you shouldn't play. Or leading with the head that you want to eliminate. We want that message to be strong."

EA Sports president Peter Moore said last week at the World Congress of Sports in Miami that it was "wrong" when the company's "Madden" game would allow concussed players to return to the field in the following quarter. That is no longer the case, Moore said Wednesday at the two-day summit in Miami.

Moore says "we have an obligation in our industry" to recognize that brain injuries are one of the biggest on-field issues facing football at all levels right now.

The game's executive producer, Phil Frazier, told The Times that "Madden NFL 12", with its new concussion rules and the exclusion of helmet-to-helmet hits and headfirst tackling can be a "teaching tool" to players of the game, particularly kids.

Gus Johnson and Cris Collinsworth, the announcers featured in the game, also will explain the dangerous nature of concussions when they announce that a player can't return to the game.

"I wouldn't say this is a full public-service announcement, but it's a means to educate," he told the newspaper.

Madden agrees with the game's new emphasis on proper tackling techniques and the seriousness of concussions, telling The Times "if we show players playing through [concussions], then kids won't understand."

"There was a time when someone would get a concussion and you'd say he just got dinged, take some smelling salts and get back in the game. Those days are over," he told the newspaper.

Madden NFL 12 is scheduled to be released in August, even if the current lockout continues.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.