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NFL Health Update: Roger Goodell, NFL release Annual Safety Report




The 2013 NFL Health & Safety Annual Report was released today and can be accessed by visiting The report includes information on the NFL's work to make football safer at all levels, invest in scientific research, reach out to former players through NFL Player Engagement programs and make rules changes.

Commissioner Roger Goodell recently joined Dr. John York, chairman of the NFL Committee on Health and Safety, Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay and senior vice president of health and safety policy Jeff Miller to speak about the Annual Report after a meeting of the committee last week at league headquarters. A transcript of their comments can be viewed here.


Former NFL player and West Virginia athletics director Oliver Luck is a Heads Up Ambassador to a youth league in Parkersburg, W.Va. Luck also serves on the NFL Player Safety Advisory Panel. He recently answered questions about his involvement.

Why did you decide to become involved in USA Football's Heads Up Football initiative? Why was it important to you?

Heads Up Football is a great program designed to keep the game safe and healthy. The popularity of the sport at all levels is undeniable, and it is encouraging to see so many forces join hands to work to keep the game safe. As an athletic director at a major university, I know firsthand how important it is to have a healthy football program, so it behooves all of us to support the efforts of Heads Up Football.

What did you learn from your visit to the Heads Up league? What did you share with the league?

I was fortunate enough to spend time with the players, coaches and parents of the Parkersburg, W.Va. Ramblers. The time there reinforced my beliefs about the values that the boys learn from participating in football -- discipline, teamwork, self-sacrifice. But it also reminded me how much fun both the players and the coaches have. And it is clear to me that the joy of participating is only increased when the coaches teach football properly, and that means using the Heads Up curriculum. As I spoke to parents, it also was clear that the parents, mothers in particular, feel much more comfortable when they know that their sons are being taught safe and proper techniques.

With your role at WVU and watching Andrew grow up playing sports, what have you learned about sports safety? What attitudes have you seen changing over time?

The attitude toward safety has changed dramatically over the years when it comes to football. I am of the generation where we were not allowed to drink water during practice. Those days are long gone, and the improvements made in training have made the game better, safer and more enjoyable. These improvements may start at the top with the professionals, but they quickly work their way down to the amateur level. And these advancements will continue to improve the game for participants and spectators alike.


The NFL Player Care Foundation partnered with the Green Bay Packers and Living Heart Foundation to host a free health screening for former players at Bellin Hospital in Green Bay, Wis. Attendees received cardiovascular and urological screenings and mental health education and resources.

"We are working with the Packers in order to run these important diagnostic screening tools to make sure we pick up on anything that could be concerning for the players' health," said Dr. Michael Swift of Bellin Hospital. Former player Calvin Williams was among those who attended the screening. Williams said he "tries to live a balanced life after football, and continue to work out as best I can, and just try to keep myself in good condition." For more information about the NFL Player Care Foundation, visit


The New York Jets presented a $40,000 check to a youth football league in Newark, N.J. as part of an initiative that will provide new helmets for every player in the league and new shoulder pads for the entire peewee division.

Jets players Antwan Barnes, David Harris, Santonio Holmes, Rontez Miles, Chris Pantale and Ryan Spadola attended the ceremony at Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, N.J. The players signed autographs, posed for pictures and gave tips for success both on and off the field.

"We're out here for a great cause," Harris said. "Safety is the primary focus. These kids are provided with new equipment, state-of-the-art helmets and shoulder pads to help prevent some of the injuries that may occur. It's a good thing that the Jets are doing."

-- NFL Communications



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