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NFL commits $100 million to improve safety; new helmets in 3 years?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is putting $100 million towards making football safer and smarter.

The “Play Safe, Play Smart” initiative announced Wednesday that the league’s goal is to learn “more about the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and long-term impact of concussions and brain injury,” Goodell wrote in a letter.

“We know there is skepticism about our work in this area,” said Goodell. “That’s why both the process and the results of our work will be shared with the medical community and the public at large.”

Of the $100 million, $60 million will be used to improve equipment, including the possibility of new helmets in 3-5 years.

“Consider football helmets, for example. Many biomechanical engineers believe that better helmets can be developed to do more to protect against concussions. The automobile industry, for one, has used modern tools and rich data analysis to advance car safety in significant ways.

Another of our goals is to explore the concept of position-specific helmets. After all, we know from tracking game and injury data that linemen experience different impacts than a wide receiver or a defensive back. Yet their protective equipment is the same. We want engineers to use that information to consider design changes that address the specific needs of each position.”

Goodell added that research teams are looking at the possibility of an under-layer for artificial turf fields that would do a lot better job absorbing contact.

Read the entire letter in the link above for more about the initiative.

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