NFL players, soldiers discuss concussions

NFL players and U.S. soldiers have been meeting to discuss concussions, and plan to get together frequently in the future.

Current players such as Arizona star receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Cleveland All-Pro tackle Joe Thomas met last Friday at the Pentagon with former players and coaches, league medical personnel and representatives from the U.S. Army and Marines. The NFL expects to have military members attend team training camps beginning in late July to further exchange ideas.

Players will attend military bases in the future to discuss concussions, as well.

The cooperation between players and soldiers was initiated from several trips Commissioner Roger Goodell has taken with military personnel.

Goodell met last fall with Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army, and Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff. Odierno met with Goodell again last month to discuss progress in the diagnosis and treatment of concussions, head trauma and resultant illnesses.

On hand last Friday among the players were Fitzgerald, Thomas, Steelers safety Ryan Clark, who is a union player rep, and Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. Former players included receiver Derrick Mason, who retired this week as a Raven; centers Shaun O’Hara and Courtney Hall; running back Brian Westbrook; defensive linemen Hollis Thomas and Mike Rucker; running back Merril Hoge, who was forced to retire because of post-concussion syndrome.

Former Jets and Browns head coach Eric Mangini also attended, as did trainers for the Steelers, Ravens and Redskins.

“The idea is that these are men and women who have shared values and a strong commitment to their team or their unit,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, who also attended Friday’s meeting. “They are all focused on accomplishing a mission or winning a game.”

The players and military personnel also talked about treatment of other injuries, ensuring they are seeking and getting proper treatment _ and being open with teammates or fellow soldiers who might be hurt and are trying to hide or ignore it.

Equipment and gear also were discussed, particularly helmet technology.

Several players and soldiers mentioned there could be a reluctance to be honest with their peers, but when they hear similar injury or concussion stories from another group that they respect, it’s easier to open up.

They should have many chances to do so again.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player
You Might Also Like
  • **FILE** In this April 23, 2013 photo, Cuba's former pitcher Conrado Marrero, the world's oldest living former major league baseball player, holds up a baseball with his signature at his home, two days before is 102nd birthday, as he holds an unlit cigar in his mouth in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

    Conrado Marrero dies at 102; ex-Senator was oldest living MLB player

  • Washington Wizards guard John Wall, left, and Bradley Beal celebrate the Wizards' 101-99 win as Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich walks off the court after missing two free throws during the overtime period of Game 2 in an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 22, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    HARRIS: D.C. not yet spellbound by Wizards, but they’re no illusion

  • Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III watches Baylor and Central Florida play during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

    Robert Griffin III to drive pace car before Richmond NASCAR race

  • Washington Wizards forward Nene, left, guards Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer during the first half in Game 1 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series in Chicago, Sunday, April 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Early returns show projections of physical Wizards-Bulls series were correct

  • Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) celebrates after catching a 25 yard touchdown in the first quarter as the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles in Monday Night NFL football at FedExField, Landover, Md., Monday, September 9, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

    Dan Snyder: DeSean Jackson ‘really a good guy’

  • Celebrities In The News
  • ** FILE ** In this March 19, 2013, file photo, Justin Bieber performs during a concert at Bercy Arena in Paris. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

    Justin Bieber apologizes for Japan war shrine trip

  • FILE - This Jan. 8, 2014 file photo shows singer Chris Brown, right, arriving at the District of Columbia Superior Court in Washington. After a brief postponement, singer Chris Brown's trial on an assault charge is scheduled to begin in Washington. Brown's trial had been set for Monday but was delayed while lawyers tried to work out whether his bodyguard will testify. It's unclear whether the trial will start Wednesday, as Brown's lawyers seem to want, or if further legal maneuvering will delay it.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

    Chris Brown assault trial delayed again

  • Justin Bieber seeks delay in Fla. DUI trial