NFL To Scrutinize Injuries From Low Blocks

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NEW ORLEANS, (UPI) —  Commissioner Roger Goodell said Sunday the NFL was looking at the occurrences of low blocks as another way of making the game safer for its players.

Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation” in New Orleans prior to the Super Bowl, Goodell said the health and well-being of NFL players was being examined beyond the front-burner issue of head injuries.

“When we see techniques that we think can lead to injuries, we’re going to get them out of the game,” said Goodell. “One thing that we’re going to look very closely at this year are low blocks and can those low blocks cause injuries that can cost players to miss games and miss seasons?”

Goodell said the NFL had long been proactive in trying to improve player safety and challenged the notion that making the sport safer would also make it less appealing to fans who get a visceral satisfaction from crushing tackles and blocks. “Fans want to see the players on the field and we want the players on the field,” he said.

Goodell said another pending change was the addition of a so-called unaffiliated neurologist on the sidelines to help team physicians determine if a player should return to the field after having his bell rung. The extra set of eyes would not be affiliated with the team, which would remove any suspicions that medical decisions were being made for reasons other than the health of the individual player.

The commissioner also said the league was embarking on a research study with General Electric to better understand how football injuries occur and what can be done to reduce them.

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