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NFL, military partner to change attitudes about concussions

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Redskins Getty Images

In football as in the military, toughness is celebrated, if not demanded.  But both walks of life are learning that toughness has its limits.

And so the NFL has partnered with the U.S. Army and the Marines to help change the attitudes of athletes and troops regarding concussions, according to Rick Maese of the Washington Post.

It has to start with the kids,” said former NFL running back Brian Westbrook, who gave excellent insight on the concussion question during a recent appearance on PFT Live.  “Then they’ll get older and they’ll realize, ‘Hey, this isn’t just part of the sport.  It’s way more serious than that and it has to be treated the right way.’”

“We need the two populations to talk to each other about not rubbing dirt on it and going back on the field, about adding a component to the culture that says, ‘It’s okay to go get checked out even if the injury isn’t as visible as a cut,” NFL executive vice president of P.R. Paul Hicks said.

Both the NFL and the military face the challenge of persuading players and troops to walk away from their teammates.  “You hear them saying, ‘I’m not taking myself off the battlefield.’ Why? ‘Because the guy on my left and my right trust that I’ll be there,’” Major General Stephen R. Lanza said. “You heard the same thing from the players. ‘I’m not coming out of the game because I need to help my team.’”

It could take years, maybe decades, to truly change attitudes.  Even then, it will be difficult to get players and troops to reconcile the importance of fighting through pain but quickly surrendering to a brain injury.  When players and troops will press on even with very real injuries to other parts of their bodies, it will never be easy to get them to pull up when they have a possible problem with the organ from which their will to keep pressing originates.

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18 Responses to “NFL, military partner to change attitudes about concussions”
  1. specialteamsposter says: Jun 14, 2012 3:53 PM

    I hate when football players are compared to the military, even metaphorically. Somebody playing a game for a few hours on Sunday is nothing like the life of a real soldier. These types of comparisons dimish what those who are truly giving their blood, sweat, tears, and lives are really doing.

  2. nflfan87 says: Jun 14, 2012 3:59 PM

    B.S. Public Relations move to try to shift blame onto the players rather than being accountable for the decades of “soft-pedaling” the issue of concussions and exercising their duty to protect players by not letting the ones they diagnosed as being concussed, back in the game. Those players should have never been given the option if the NFL truly cared about player safety. I also love how the only quote from the NFL comes from the EVP of PR… HAHAHAHAHA!!!! I understand PR people usually introduce to the media new programs etc, but there isn’t one shred of substance to the explanation of exactly how they are partnering or what the NFL is investing in this program. You know why? Bc the NFL thinks fans are dumb enough that we’ll just read they are partnering and believe the NFL is being proactive. WHAT A JOKE!!

  3. fthrvic says: Jun 14, 2012 4:09 PM

    So tell me NFL, what should my attitude about concussions be?

  4. randomguy9999 says: Jun 14, 2012 4:15 PM

    I second that…… NFLers have no business comparing the game to combat or even peacetime service…..

  5. stevekrez says: Jun 14, 2012 4:16 PM

    Hopefully kurt warner will come out and say how he would not want his kids to be in the military.

  6. wetpaperbag3 says: Jun 14, 2012 4:30 PM

    specialteamsposter says: Jun 14, 2012 3:53 PM

    I hate when football players are compared to the military, even metaphorically. Somebody playing a game for a few hours on Sunday is nothing like the life of a real soldier. These types of comparisons dimish what those who are truly giving their blood, sweat, tears, and lives are really doing.
    ====================================

    Well, that’s odd because during my 8 years in the Marines, football analogies were used ALL the time during various stages of training during my career. Football and Marine mentality will forever be intertwined. Both are sacred, hallowed, traditional; both having you give your all for your brother to your left and to your right. Pain is just weakness leaving your body and quitting is NEVER an option!

    Sure, a Marine’s occupation is far different than playing football, but both foster the same exact mentality and both Marine and football player are trained to think and behave in the same exact manner.

  7. seageo says: Jun 14, 2012 4:32 PM

    I have 2 problems with this.

    1) NFL players should not be compared to soldiers who are out their sacrificing their life for pennies.

    2) Yeah OK….go into battle and complain about a concussion…while the P.R. aspect of it from a General in an office might be to tell them to get it checked out, the reality is they dont care out there. Talk to anyone who has been in the military. You could be in the hospital on your leave time, but once its up, the military could have you moved to one of their medical facilities where they will clear you and send you back to work with a tylenol.

  8. wetpaperbag3 says: Jun 14, 2012 4:57 PM

    You all are missing the point. No one is comparing what the Marines and Army do to that of a football player. We all know the average Marine gets paid far less for putting their lives on the line for God, Country, Corps (and in that exact order). No one is disputing that.

    What is being compared is the MENTALITY. You go ask ANY Marine (or Army soldier) and ask them whether or not the two mentalities are indeed one in the same.

    Football and military cultures are indeed one in the same. Neither one wants to actively wants to voluntarily walk off “the line” because they think their hurt. Neither one wants to be taken out of “the game” either. Bleed now, cry later.

  9. mtheparrothead says: Jun 14, 2012 5:10 PM

    Remember to wear your nfl approved helmet to prevent concussions soldier!! Never mind that guy across the line firing off hollow points at you!

  10. cincyorangenblack says: Jun 14, 2012 5:36 PM

    If hurt, and you DON”T go back on the field of play you might lose that game.

    If you don’t and you CAN”T go back on the field of play you might still just lose that game.

    If hurt, and you DON’T go back on the field of battle, your best friends may die…

    If hurt and you CAN”T go back on the field of battle, you just might live if your lucky…

  11. starfan79 says: Jun 14, 2012 6:36 PM

    I think the nfl needs to bring back the older helmets. The ones that used to hurt if you got popped. Back then you new how hard you could go and guys limited themselves. Today you don’t feel anything until its too late. Great pillows.

  12. roastmeforbeingacardsfan says: Jun 14, 2012 6:55 PM

    The military and the NFL are the same in how the public/their bosses treat them. Sure when you first start off they love you, they root for you then when your career is over and you have CTE/PTSD they throw you out like yesterday’s trash. They did it to Vietnam vets when they came back were seen/treated as criminals and they did it to the players of the NFL too. Nowadays the problem is Lack of support from the DOD/V.A with their PTSD and for the NFL it’s preventing concussions.

  13. 84sgl says: Jun 14, 2012 9:17 PM

    As a proud Marine I always feel uncomfortable about all the praise I get. I do not see my life as too big of a sacrifice. I have never seen action and many of our personnel see no action. The perception of what it means to be in the service is quite funny at times. Maybe I am just to accustomed to my lifestyle to see it. We are at risk, don’t get me wrong. Soldiers die and are injured on the behalf of this nation, that is true. But that’s the choice we all made just as the choice of the athletes to play this game. If anything, the league needs to look at the way our veterans are supported these days and devise a better way to ensure their health after football. Insurance coverage only. If they just want money then forget about it. You can’t blame the league because research had not yet revealed the long term ramifications of concussions.

  14. 84sgl says: Jun 14, 2012 9:19 PM

    And sure, Vietnam vets got shafted but the military has since learned from then. The support today is light years better than what it was.

  15. tatum064 says: Jun 15, 2012 3:44 AM

    NFL, military partner to change attitudes about concussions
    ================================
    Whew, thats a load off my mind. I thought they were partnering to change attitudes about collateral damage and bombing women and children.

  16. tatum064 says: Jun 15, 2012 3:47 AM

    seageo says:
    Jun 14, 2012 4:32 PM
    I have 2 problems with this.

    1) NFL players should not be compared to soldiers who are out their sacrificing their life for pennies.
    ******************************************
    You got it half right

    its actually, 1) the NFL being used AT ALL regarding the military (a proven money earner for the wealthy , defense contractors etc.).

    2) and it as some kind of patriotic equivalent of supporting something that destroys civilian lives needlessly (as spoils of war or insert whatever ficticuous “commie-hippie” drivel)

  17. blueglaze says: Jun 15, 2012 4:48 AM

    Ya well…. As a former marine… I say screw that philosophy, marines do and will always fight through pain!! Blame it on pride but that’s what makes our country so great. Football is a sport…. Military, not so much…just sayin

  18. blueglaze says: Jun 15, 2012 4:52 AM

    Wetpaperbag… U must never left the office while in the marines…we were trained like marines.. Not football players… SMH

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