No one is more terrified of the physical evolution of the game of football more than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
And you can’t blame him with the amount of money the NFL stands to gain or lose in its approach to player safety in the wake of recent events in relation to on field concussions. From the death of Junior Seau to the fear of a death on the field in a game, Goodell is searching the world for ways to keep the game competitive while making it safer.
And his pilgrimage has led him directly to the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Goodell toured the Tar Heels Sports and Exercise Science Department this past Wednesday getting a first hand look at the things Carolina is doing to prevent concussions and life threatening injuries at the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. Head Coach Larry Fedora and medical leaders allowed Goodell to get a hands-on feel for all the things North Carolina is trying to do to make all levels of football safer.
Following his tour and discussions, Goodell was the featured speaker at the Carl Blythe Annual Lecture that kicked of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Neurotrauma Symposium that started on Friday and ended on Saturday.
The leader of the NFL was quick to applaud the efforts North Carolina Football and its Medical and Exercise Science Departments are doing to make the game safer. Goodell added that technology and research will be the key to the future of the game.
“We know that in order to secure the future, we can and must do more to make the game safer, and in the process, we will make other sports safer as well,” Goodell said.
North Carolina and its football program have been doing sports injury related research since 1965. And with Goodell’s interest, look for the Tar Heels to kick it up a notch when it comes to keeping all athletes on all playing fields safer.
Here is the full hour lecture of Goodell’s presentation this past Wednesday.
M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.
Follow him @woodysmalls.