NEW YORK--The National Football League, responding to increasing concern over the damage caused by playing professional football, has announced a new program aimed at increasing understanding of the effects of repeated concussions.
"We want to get out in front of this issue and take a leadership role," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at a press conference yesterday. "With this in mind, and knowing that much more data is needed regarding concussions than we currently have, we want to increase the schedule from 16 to 18 games. The increased amount of information available will spur our understanding and help us find a solution that much sooner."
The proposal to lengthen the season will be part of the discussion regarding a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Player's Aassociation, and will need to be approved by that organization before it can take effect.
"The players must realize that they have to be part of the solution," said Goodell. "We need as many of their brains as possible for autopsies, as soon as we can get them."
"We sincerely hope this will not become a divisive issue in our talks with them."
The proposal, if implemented, is expected to add hundreds of collisions per season for each player as well as necessitating expanded rosters, increasing the supply of brains to study.
"We have to get ahead of this problem," Goodell went on to say. "Without information, we're just butting our heads against the wall. We can't just wait for worse problems to smack us in the face. We need to put our heads together now and come up with a program that has real impact. "
"It's time to put on our thinking helmets and use them as weapons in this fight."
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