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Thom Loverro: Tougher rules, not tougher players
It’s the culture of football - one the NFL says it is trying to change.
The league has issued stricter guidelines for when a player should be allowed to return to games or practices after head injuries. A player who suffers a concussion should not return to action on the same day if he shows certain symptoms - an inability to remember assignments or plays, a gap in memory or persistent dizziness or headaches.
The new standards were drawn up by the NFL concussion committee, team doctors, outside medical experts and the NFL Players Association, according to reports.
The old guidelines, put into place two years ago, said a player should not be allowed to return to the same game if he lost consciousness.
The memo from the league to teams stated that players “are to be encouraged to be candid with team medical staffs and fully disclose any signs or symptoms that may be associated with a concussion.”
It is fine that the football business realizes it might be a good idea to take their workers’ brains turning into scrambled eggs more seriously than it has in the past.
But it is a small step, and far more significant change is necessary. Players who suffer a concussion should be kept out for weeks at a time, as the Redskins have done with Clinton Portis.
Football has a long way to go before it matches the safety level of boxing, where a licensed fighter can’t step into the ring in a state with a sanctioning body for 90 days after he is knocked out.
c Listen to “The Sports Fix,” co-hosted by Thom Loverro and Kevin Sheehan, from noon to 2 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 980 and espn980.com.
About the Author
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