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DeMaurice Smith emails NFL union members about safety changes

The NFL Players Association and executive director DeMaurice Smith emailed a memo to its membership Friday about the health and safety changes the union has helped to create this season, NFL Media's Albert Breer reported.

Breer obtained a copy of the memo, which outlines three areas that the union says it helped to change this season: an updated set of concussion protocols, an independent neurologist on the sideline and a concussion tip sheet for the players.


First, at the insistence of the NFLPA and its medical advisors, the NFL Head Neck and Spine Committee developed a comprehensive set of protocols governing the diagnosis and management of concussions. The document summarizing these policies and practices is available below for your review. The objective of these protocols is to provide the Clubs’ medical staffs with a clear process for diagnosing and managing concussion. These protocols are mandatory for all NFL teams and are intended to reduce process-related incidents and injuries.


Second, there will be a new addition to your team’s medical staff this season. The League will employ concussion specialists for every game to identify concussions and aid with the management of head and neck injuries. These physicians, known as “Unaffiliated Neuro-trauma Consultants,” are independent of any Club, are board certified in neurology, neurosurgery and/or emergency medicine, and have documented experience in concussion treatment. They must observe all sideline concussion assessment exams and aid the Team Physician when appropriate.


Third, the NFLPA in partnership with the American Academy of Neurology and the American College of Emergency Room Physicians has produced the Concussion Tip Sheet (also available below), to provide critical information concerning concussion diagnosis and care. Hard copies of the Tip Sheet will be circulated in your locker room.


Smith also congratulated the union for creating health and safety changes in the game.


Nearly three years after our lockout, with significant improvements won in the realm of player health and safety, we can be proud of the progress players have made in protecting themselves and their livelihood.


-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor

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