The recent labor agreement between the NFL and its players did not really address long-term health issues that former players face. The NFL and its players union may choose to ignore those issues and paint a warm, fuzzy picture about how player health concerns are being addressed; but two recent events suggest that everyone is not happy with these efforts.
It was announced on Dec. 21 that every NFL team is now required to have a certified athletic trainer who does not work for the team or league in the press box at each home game. The purpose of this is to have someone trained to spot concussion symptoms observing play. If this person feels that a player who sustained a hard hit may be showing signs of having sustained a concussion then that trainer can call down to the sidelines and have the player withheld from play until the team medical staff can properly evaluate him. For more on this story go to : http://www.freep.com/article/20111222/SPORTS01/112220531/NFL-roundup-NFL-appointed-trainer-to-be-in-each-press-box.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a story on Dec. 22 about four former NFL players who have sued the league in Fulton County, Georgia over long-term injuries they sustained that they say were caused by injuries suffered during their playing careers. The lawsuit contends that the NFL was negligent in its research of head injuries and concussions and that league officials downplayed the link between concussions and brain damage. For the complete story go to: http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/4-former-players-suing-1267844.html.
This is a story that is simply not going away. These types of news reports should be cautionary tales to players and their families at any level of play including youth sports.