Young Football Players and the NFL's New Safety Tactics
Retired NFL player Jason Belser talks about what strategies the NFL Players Association is using to educate young players about concussion and safety.
[Jason Belser] You asked the question, was it hard to get to the younger generation, the 22-year-old that's just coming out of college or that's new in the league, about playing through concussion or using the proper helmets, helmets that we know are concussion-reducing technology. You know, they've been very receptive to hearing it. The reason why, because when you see Peyton Manning, who utilizes a concussion-reduction helmet, when you see Troy Polamalu, who's one of the hardest-hitting safeties in the game, who plays the game like any throw-back player would play the game— he wears a concussion-reduction-technology helmet. A lot of these guys coming into the league, they don't have an option. That's what they used in college, so they come into the league utilizing the new technology. But ultimately, when we're telling them, you know, be smarter about how you play the game, and that means reporting your symptoms, reporting your condition, they're taking heed to it, they're really listening to us. That's the part of being smarter. Everything's evolving. The young men that we're educating now, they have access to information and technology through smartphones and the Internet, so they understand what's going on in the world a lot more than my generation or when my dad played. And then ultimately, the people that are caring for them are caring for them the same way. They've got younger trainers. The doctors now are on staffs that have younger trainers. And then they go back to certification. There's so much information out there, so they actually are listening to us. It actually makes it a little bit easier to probably change that culture, that you don't have to be that silent warrior, that there's someone that you can tell and let them know what your symptoms are and diagnose that so you can be diagnosed effectively.
Posted on BrainLine January 21, 2011.
Jason Belser played for the National Football League for 11 seasons. He is a member of the board of USA Football, the sport’s national governing body on youth and amateur levels, and is senior regional director for the National Football League Players Association.
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