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MLS, NHL face own concussion issues in wake of NFL settlement


Friday's health and safety news from the world of sports:

* Soccer America asked what the NFL's settlement in the concussion litigation will do for MLS. D.C. United is facing a negligence lawsuit from former player Bryan Namoff.

In 2011, MLS did begin to take measures to promote awareness of the seriousness of the concussion problem.

So, for the moment, with the NFL suit not going to trial, and with Namoff's case still to be heard, the responsibility of leagues and clubs has not been legally defined. There remains another angle of the problem that has yet to receive a full hearing -- that of protective equipment.

At issue are accusations that equipment manufacturers make unproven claims for the effectiveness and safety of their products. A lawsuit against the manufacturer of football helmets is pending -- one that could have a major effect on the sport should it go against the manufacturers.

Soccer's problems with concussion -- which include the issue of protective headware -- are not going to go away. How can they, when head-butting the ball is written into the rules, thus making ugly and frequently violent head-to-head clashes an integral part of the game?

* NFL legend Dick Butkus issued a statement calling the lack of HGH testing in pro football "inexcusable." The league is deadlocked in negotiations with the NFL Players Association over the testing, with the union balking at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's role in the appeals process.

"It is inexcusable to not have HGH testing in place for the 2013 season," the Hall of Famer said in a statement released to PFT. "If you care about the health and safety of players, you should not play without first conducting HGH testing. Guys playing clean in the NFL are getting the short end of the stick. They are being put at risk and penalized for doing things the right way. Most importantly, young players at every level are watching and paying attention. They are waiting for the players to lead."

* The Globe and Mail asked, will the NHL follow suit after the NFL settlement?

* KTVA-TV in Anchorage reported on Jake Plummer's involvement in the Heads Up Football program in Alaska.

* The Juneau Empire looked at Plummer's stop in its Alaska city.

* USA Football reported on the University of Michigan football team's stop in Detroit to teach kids about Heads Up Football.

* The Chicago Sun-Times reminded parents in an op-ed to make sure kids used their heads in playing football.

* The Guelph Mercury looked at changes in concussion training for area athletic trainers.

* The San Luis Obispo Tribune reported on the area's concussion awareness programs and use of the ImPACT program.

-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor



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