NFL players and U.S. soldiers have been meeting to discuss concussions, and plan to get together frequently in the future.
Current players such as Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Cleveland Browns All-Pro tackle Joe Thomas met last Friday at the Pentagon with former players and coaches, league medical personnel and representatives from the U.S. Army and Marines. The NFL expects to have military members attend team training camps beginning in late July to further exchange ideas.
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Players will attend military bases in the future to discuss concussions, as well.
The cooperation was initiated from several trips Commissioner Roger Goodell has taken with military personnel. Goodell met last fall with Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army. Odierno met with Goodell again last month to discuss progress in the diagnosis and treatment of concussions, head trauma and resultant illnesses.
Also on hand last Friday were Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark, a union rep, and Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. Former players included receiver Derrick Mason, centers Shaun O'Hara and Courtney Hall and running backs Brian Westbrook and Merril Hoge, who was forced to retire because of post-concussion syndrome.
The players and military personnel also talked about treatment of other injuries, ensuring they are seeking and getting proper treatment -- and being open with teammates or fellow soldiers who might be hurt and are trying to hide or ignore it.
Equipment and gear also were discussed, particularly helmet technology.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press