You Shook My Nerves and You Rattled My Brain

Former NFL quarterback Steve Young is one of many players whose career came to an immediate halt as the result of suffering multiple concussions. On Tuesday for the first time, all 32 team doctors and trainers met together to discuss the future of the NFL and steps being taken to get some hard data on the toll concussions take on current and former players.

Injuries in the NFL are nothing new. They happen to every player at some time or another. Some are deemed serious while others are viewed as being more minor. But on Tuesday, the NFL for the first time convened all 32 team trainers and doctors to discuss the toll concussions have played in the lives of current and former NFL players.

The deaths of some former NFL players have been linked to multiple concussion syndrome, as well as numerous cases of clinical depression. While the NFL has never publicly agreed with those reports, the league is also investigating a study of former players to look at the long-term effects of players known to have suffered multiple concussions.

This year for the first time, the league is going to require all players to have what are called "neurological baseline tests" – a scan that tests normal brain function for each player. The test will give doctors a better handle as to when a player's post-concussion brain activity returns to normal. There is also a plan in place to have a policy to allow players to inform the league if teams are pushing players back from concussions too early for the good of the team, not the good of the players.

This would seem something of a departure for the NFL, which in a 2004 study saw no link between cumulative effect disorders and multiple concussions.

Aside from having documentation on all 2007 NFL players for comparison purposes, the league is also planning a program to educate players about the dangers and long-term affects of multiple concussion syndrome, which is expected be ready before the start of training camp.

Viking Update Top Stories