NFL Commissioner Defends Concussion Rate, Player Health

AP Images for NFL

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell on Sunday defended he concussion rate in the league and explained how he is addressing player health and safety.

“It hasn’t impacted the game,” he said on “Fox News Sunday” about the increasing tendency for player to use their heads when tackling. “The game is safer, better and more popular than ever.”

However, Goodell acknowledged that it should be addressed.

“The helmet should not be used as a weapon. It’s there for protection,” he said.

The commissioner said that it’s time to “get back to the fundamentals” of using arms and shoulders to tackle, rather than the head.

“It’s the way the game should be played,” he said. “We’re working on programs even at the youth level — teach the right fundamentals early on.”

While Goodell said he is addressing safety in the sport, he also argued that player health after they leave the NFL is exceptional.

“When you look at longterm health of our players, our players are living on average longer than the average male,” he said. “And they’re also living a higher quality life — less divorce, their health conditions are better, particularly cardiovascular.”

President Obama said in a January interview with the New Yorker that if he had a son, he would not let him play professional football.