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New Concussion Training for NFL Players Ahead of This Week’s Season Opener

NEW YORK – Ahead of this week’s NFL Kickoff, every NFL player is receiving new concussion education and training from the NFL Players Association (NFLPA). The training and educational video was created in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology, the world’s most trusted authority on diagnosing and managing concussions. The video was distributed to all players and relays to them essential facts about brain injury and how to recognize it, and outlines the NFL concussion protocols that are mandated for their health and safety. The training also covers the process for determining how and when a player can safely return to play, including the steps involved in the sideline concussion assessment if a concussion is suspected or spotted during the game. “Concussion is really serious stuff. This is your brain; this is your mind; this is you. Don’t risk you,” said Thom Mayer, MD, NFLPA Medical Director. “Once a potential injury has been identified, the NFL and the NFLPA have worked together to create evidence-based protocols to take you through a process that ensures you are safe to return to play,” said Jeffrey Kutcher, MD, an advisor to the NFLPA. Kutcher is the National Director of The Sports Neurology Clinic at the Core Institute. “Whenever a concussion is suspected, the player is required to be immediately removed from play and evaluated as soon as possible.” “The people who are involved with the medical assessment of concussion in the NFL are the unaffiliated neuro-trauma consultant and the team physician. The unaffiliated neuro-trauma consultant is an independent physician who is there on the players’ behalf,” said Kutcher. “All of the people who are watching this game are trying to make it safer and trying to make it easier for a player, if he has a concussion, to have it diagnosed and treated properly,” said Mayer. Players are also being encouraged to speak up if they suspect a concussion. “Simply going to the athletic trainer or the team physician, letting them know ‘hey, I got ringing in my ears after that hit,’ or ‘I’m seeing double a little bit, I think I need to be checked out,’” said Mayer. “Your skill is what’s going to keep you on the field. So don’t be afraid, if in fact you ever face concussion, to speak up about it,” said former NFL football player Ben Utecht, who is also featured in the video. “You only get one brain. When it comes to concussion—we want all athletes at all levels to remember ‘when in doubt, check it out,’” said Terrence L. Cascino, MD, FAAN, President of the American Academy of Neurology.

The American Academy of Neurology, the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, offers resources for coaches, athletes, and families on how to recognize the signs of concussion. Learn more at www.aan.com/concussion or download the Academy’s Concussion Quick Check mobile app.

The video is also endorsed by the American Brain Foundation, a national charity which brings researchers and donors together to defeat brain disease. Learn more at www.americanbrainfoundation.org.

The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through 2020. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.

The contents of the video were reviewed by David Dodick, MD, with the Mayo Clinic, on behalf of the American Academy of Neurology.


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