The NFL has issued each team an updated poster outlining various details regarding concussions. In addition to listing the signs and symptoms of a concussion, the poster warns of the dangers associated with the injury. The poster, which is to be displayed in team locker rooms, is just the latest step taken by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to insure the league and its player are at the forefront of concussion prevention and care. Goodell recently urged 44 governors to adopt specific laws protecting athletes against concussions and has also begun enforcing stricter and more specific guidelines for return-to-play following a head injury.
The poster also urges players to report to their team physician of athletic trainer if they or a teammate is suffering from concussion-related symptoms. A concussion is a dangerous injury that was once often over-looked. In the past, athletes suffering from head injuries often participated in games the following week putting themselves at serious risk. The NFL hopes the posters will take pressure off the players and allow them to take responsibility and report their symptoms instead of attempting to play through them. As a result, more players could miss time recovering from a head injury than in the past, directly effecting their availability for fantasy owners. Last season running backs Clinton Portis and Brian Westbrook suffered concussions and missed multiple games while quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was criticized for sitting out an overtime loss to the Ravens nursing concussion-related symptoms. Expect several more players to be sidelined in the upcoming season as athletic trainers and team medicals staffs wisely protect their athletes.
Any NFL player is susceptible to a concussion but fantasy owners can prepare for the newly instated rules and their effects on your draft. Examine a player's history and keep in mind previous concussions increase the likelihood of another concussion occurring. Players with concussions in the last few seasons include Westbrook, Portis, Roethlisberger, Greg Jennings, Trent Edwards, and Joseph Addai. There is no predicting when and where a concussion will occur but following this rule may help you pick a player less prone to missing time. While the poster and the new concussion guidelines may drive fantasy owners crazy, remember the players are real people with real families and they must protect themselves and their life after football.