Sunday, July 25, 2010;
New return-to-play standards
Last year, Commissioner Roger Goodell required a player who suffers a concussion to be cleared by an outside neurologist before participating in another game or practice. Goodell also notified teams that a player no longer could return to a game or a practice if he was showing any symptoms of a concussion.
New medical leadership
In March, the league named Richard Ellenbogen and Hunt Batjer co-chairmen of its head, neck and spine medical committee. In a November memo, Goodell informed teams that he had accepted the resignations of Ira Casson and David Viano as co-chairmen of what was then called the mild traumatic brain injury committee.
Protections have been extended for "defenseless" players during games. A runner whose forward progress has been stopped and a receiver who has made a catch but hasn't yet gathered himself cannot be hit in the head by an opponent's head, shoulder or forearm. Another new rule ends any play immediately when a ballcarrier loses his helmet.
The league produced a public service announcement about concussion treatment and management, and required representatives of each team to attend a medical conference on brain injuries.
What's being considered
The league and union are discussing a reduction in the number of offseason practices and restrictions on hitting in practices during training camp and the regular season. The union wants a 20 to 25 percent decrease in the number of blows to the head absorbed by players during practices.
The league and union are trying to determine which helmets perform best in on-field collisions and hope to develop new helmet technology. On Friday, the results of one helmet test were released.
Eliminating the three-point stance
Goodell has raised the idea of requiring linemen to stand upright at the line of scrimmage to decrease the force of helmet-to-helmet blows after the snap.