The NFL’s whistle-blower system of protecting players from being pressured to take the field with a concussion will begin when training camps open next month, the Associated Press has learned. “It’s an important element of what we’re trying to accomplish here,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday after a conference with medical personnel from every team in the league. “I have said repeatedly and will continue to say that medical decisions must override any competitive decisions. “And if anyone feels they are being forced onto the field when they are not ready to play, we want to know about that and look into it.”
Although details need to be worked out with the players union, the new system allows anyone to anonymously report when doctors are pressured to clear players or when players are pressured to play. It’s one of several changes the league is making in its effort to manage concussions. Besides implementing the whistle-blower system, the league will also require all players to undergo baseline neuropsychological testing starting this season. Rules requiring players to properly buckle their chinstrap will be enforced, as well. And a brochure will be distributed to players to help educate them and their families about concussions.