Report: Goodell will expand restrictions concerning head trauma

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly will expand restrictions on when or if players who sustain head trauma can return to games.

FOX Sports reported Sunday that Goodell will issue a memo this week to all 32 NFL teams expanding grounds for the removal of a player with a head injury or concussion.

Currently, a player can return to the game after being diagnosed with a concussion if he is asymptomatic at rest and under exertion and is cleared by the team doctor. The lone exception is if the medical staff determines the player lost consciousness, in which case he is ruled out for the remainder of the game.

The report said that if a player is "woozy, has general dementia or memory loss," Goodell wants him barred from returning to a game.

"We are continuing to review all aspects of our guidelines on concussion management and treatment," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

The league wouldn't comment on the FOX report, but Goodell expressed his concerns about player safety in an interview that aired Sunday on NFL Network's GameDay Morning.

"Even though the equipment is improved, sometimes the players don't take advantage of that," Goodell said. "They want to wear the helmets that they feel more comfortable in. We need to get the players to use the best equipment. The second issue is [players] have to make sure medical personnel know when they have an injury. The players have to raise their hand and say, 'You know what? I got hit, and I don't feel 100 percent.'"

Goodell also brought up the issue of how much the players work outside the season.

"We have to limit the OTAs and the offseason training," he said. "Also, there's a very interesting development that one of the coaches came up with that I think is going to start becoming more of the norm. They monitor how many plays players play each season, and the more plays you play, the more time you have off in the offseason. I think it's a great idea that has a lot of merit. ...

"We're not in the business of ending careers. We're trying to extend careers."

The Pittsburgh Steelers made Ben Roethlisberger their third quarterback for Sunday night's game in Baltimore after he sustained his fourth concussion since 2006 during a loss at Kansas City last weekend. Roethlisberger practiced this week, but he began experiencing headaches resulting from the concussion. He was examined Saturday by an independent neurologist -- a practice the Steelers have used for years in dealing with head injuries -- before the team decided to bench him.

The Associated Press conducted a survey of 160 NFL players -- about 10 percent of the league -- earlier this month, and 30 replied that they have hidden or played down the effects of a concussion.

The NFL says its data show an average of one reported concussion every other game -- about 120 to 130 concussions per regular season. Of the 160 players interviewed by the AP, half said they have had at least one concussion playing football; 61 said they missed playing time because of the injury.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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