Fading away are the days when phrases such as “Walk it off!” and “Suck it up!” dominated football practices and games. Now terms such as “safety” and “long-term health” are taking precedence over the tough-guy persona that enveloped those who put on the pads of warriors.
The NFL is leading the charge in concussion testing and proactively altering their rules for the sake of player well being. In 2012, the NFL donated $30 million to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health to fun research for brain injuries and other health issues. In January, the NFL Players Association announced a 10 year, $100 million research project between the union and Harvard University to study injuries related to football and the long-term damage those injuries cause.
The NFL, NFLPA and the NCAA also have teamed up with USA Football to aid the “Heads UP Football” program, which promotes concussion awareness and proper tackling techniques to youth football players throughout the country.
Meanwhile, the NFL also is battling lawsuits from more than 4,100 former players who claim to have suffered head injuries while members of the league.