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Goodell says iPads could be used to help diagnose concussions

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The popular tablet device that has been rewiring brains throughout the country could soon be used to identify whether NFL players have suffered injuries to theirs.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently told Peter King of SI.com that iPads could soon be used to assist in the diagnosis of concussions.

Regarding the league’s position on concussions, Goodell focused on the top two priorities.  “The first thing to do is prevent it,” Goodell said.  “That goes to rules, equipment.  The second is our sideline assessment tools.  We have made changes to that.  There are some new technologies that make this very soon in the future where on a tablet, you can actually take a test on the sideline to determine [the concussion].”

The league also will expand the use of technology when it comes to spotting whether a player needs to take the iPad test.

“We have spotters, as you know, our ATC [athletic trainers] spotters program, which we implemented late in the season to sort of identify hits that would require an evaluation,” Goodell said.  “That will be expanded and fully in place this season. . . .  They will have access to all the video and if they see a hit that involves a significant blow to the head or if a player demonstrates any kind of dizziness or potential slowness to get up, they call down to the sideline and make sure the medical professional has that number and they can go make an evaluation. . . .

“Now we have the technology to send the play down to the field, so that if a medical personnel wants to look at that, they can look at the play and that has been very helpful in the playoffs.  It’s almost like the instant replay setup. You’ll see the equipment down behind the bench area.  The ATC spotter can actually, just like we do with instant replay, send a play down if the trainer or the doctor wants to see a play.  They can look at the play and see what they call the mechanisms of injury. That’s the term that’s used. Through the mechanism of injury, you can determine, ‘OK, I need to look at that.’  It’s a tremendous tool for the doctors.”

It sounds like a great plan.  Still, Goodell’s comments regarding the expansion of the spotters program were prefaced by an observation that remains troubling, because it’s so unrealistic.  “The player has to self-report and has to tell professionals,” Goodell.

That’s not practical because that’s not how players think.  And so it comes off not as a viable plan for diagnosing concussions but as a talking point crafted by the lawyers who are handling the concussions lawsuits.

The NFL has been forced to use spotters because players don’t self-report.  Because they know if they self-report they won’t be allowed to play.

When it comes to whether a player who has possibly suffered a head injury should be cleared to re-enter the same game, every aspect of the decision should be taken out of the players’ hands.  Especially since, if they indeed have a concussion, they’re not fit to make a good decision about whether they can return to play.

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25 Responses to “Goodell says iPads could be used to help diagnose concussions”
  1. joetoronto says: Jun 11, 2012 8:58 AM

    The iPad does everything but make you breakfast.

    Just wait.

  2. spellingcopfather says: Jun 11, 2012 9:01 AM

    More sales for the IPad, like they needed it!!!

  3. bigperm33 says: Jun 11, 2012 9:01 AM

    Now in writing his article today, I wonder if King just got paid by SI, or did he also receive some type of payment from the NFL – if not he should. NFL PR couldnt have written a better puff piece about how this commissioner is so caring and just wants players to be safe. Of course, if Goodell says one word about player safety and there isnt a question, “well, then how come you still want 18 games?”, you simply aren’t doing your job. Goodell is a hypocrite, plain and simple, and most who cover him seem to be either too blind to care, or ok with it.

  4. specialteamsposter says: Jun 11, 2012 9:06 AM

    Yes, an iPad! Brilliant! That’ll solve everything! And this is why Godell makes the big bucks.

  5. redwinglion says: Jun 11, 2012 9:07 AM

    “Can you beat this level in Angry Birds? Yes? Alright, you’re good enough to get back in the game.” — NFL doctor

  6. artvan15 says: Jun 11, 2012 9:14 AM

    So could the IPod!!!

  7. dccowboy says: Jun 11, 2012 9:14 AM

    Doesn’t the ‘tendency’ of players to not self-report, and, in fact, hide that they may have a concussion provide the NFL with a possible defense against the lawsuit? Not that I think the lawsuit(s) are going to be successful anyway. Without a ‘smoking gun’ memo (ala the Tobacco case) that outright says the NFL knew about the long term effects and was going to ‘hide’ that information, I don’t think that the players can prove the intent to deceive.

  8. easyeddie says: Jun 11, 2012 9:25 AM

    “The NFL has been forced to use spotters because players don’t self-report.  Because they know if they self-report they won’t be allowed to play.”

    They won’t self-report, but they will sue the league years down the road for its “negligence.”

  9. jackblackshairyback says: Jun 11, 2012 9:29 AM

    That’s one heck of an app.

    You think maybe Goodell owns a few shares of AAPL?

  10. moth25 says: Jun 11, 2012 9:29 AM

    Wait, can the NFL require the use of Pads without the union’s approval?

  11. nebster21 says: Jun 11, 2012 9:33 AM

    I wonder how much Apple is paying Goodell to say that?

  12. phillytailgater says: Jun 11, 2012 9:46 AM

    Also could be used for coaches that can’t read their 2 point conversion chart due to smudging.Right Rich Kotite?

  13. johanneschimpo says: Jun 11, 2012 9:47 AM

    If you can play Angry Birds, you’re good to go back on the field.

  14. johanneschimpo says: Jun 11, 2012 9:48 AM

    Damn, should have read the comments before posting.

  15. hystoracle says: Jun 11, 2012 10:19 AM

    The challenge is going to be getting the NFLPA to allow the NFL to embed those USB 2.0 ports into the players’ heads.

    I’m having visions of Ivan Drago’s training sessions.

  16. rodgers419 says: Jun 11, 2012 10:29 AM

    Ipads are for hipsters and have little practical value other than as a status symbol. Same price gets you a more tech advanced laptop that actually comes with a keyboard and mouse.

  17. r0b1b0y says: Jun 11, 2012 10:49 AM

    This Commish has jumped the shark

  18. mviglianco says: Jun 11, 2012 11:07 AM

    Ipads? How about a doctor?

  19. Grulks says: Jun 11, 2012 11:45 AM

    Except, didn’t you ban teams/players/coaches from using them ~30 minutes prior to the game, along with cell phones, as part of your “no twitter” law?

  20. nflovercollegefb says: Jun 11, 2012 12:18 PM

    rodgers419 says:
    Jun 11, 2012 10:29 AM
    Ipads are for hipsters and have little practical value other than as a status symbol. Same price gets you a more tech advanced laptop that actually comes with a keyboard and mouse
    ————————————————–
    Yes but that would be a Windows based laptop, which for all intents and purposes is garbage!

  21. joetoronto says: Jun 11, 2012 12:38 PM

    rodgers419 says: Jun 11, 2012 10:29 AM

    Ipads are for hipsters and have little practical value other than as a status symbol. Same price gets you a more tech advanced laptop that actually comes with a keyboard and mouse.
    ************************************************
    I have to disagree. We all have Macbooks, but the iPad has taken the place of the family desktop computer.

    It sits on the kitchen island, if someone needs some quick info, it’s there.

    You can have that windows crap.

  22. realitypolice says: Jun 11, 2012 12:58 PM

    How about suspending players who go back on the field without being checked out who are diagnosed after the game with a concussion? That might encourage them to get checked out.

    I realize that probably isn’t practical, but my point is this: The only way this problem gets solved is if the responsibility is placed on the players. It is too easy to hide the effects of concussion from coaches and team personnel. Players have to step up and be held accountable for their own health.

    Period.

  23. drexelvol says: Jun 11, 2012 1:26 PM

    Except the replay videos are in Adobe Flash format and can’t be played on an iPad! Oh noes!

    Put your big boy pants on and get an Android tablet.

  24. packhawk04 says: Jun 11, 2012 2:13 PM

    All of this depends on players willing to come out of the game, which wont happen. Why come out of the game when the nfl is doing everything it can for your safety? Because when your 50 and broke, just sue.

  25. davereckon says: Jun 11, 2012 4:43 PM

    It should be very simple, and the technology is already here. Imbed a shockwatch sticker/tube into the outside of the helmet. Make it easily replaced. When a collision happens to set off the shockwatch, the player is taken in for a mandatory evaluation. If they check out ok, replace the sensor and back in the game you go.

    The refs could visually see the triggered sensor by walking around the huddle.

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