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Monday, January 27, 2014
NFLN survey/player safety: Bills

By Mike Rodak

Would you play in the Super Bowl with a concussion?

If your answer was 'yes,' that's what 85 percent of players said in a recent ESPN.com survey of 320 NFL players.

The Bills' tally was exactly in line with the overall results -- 8 of 10 would play in the Super Bowl with a concussion.

It's a response that doesn't come as much of a surprise. Football has been part of most NFL players' lives since they were in grade school or earlier, and it's hard to envision much stopping one from participating in the championship game that is the pinnacle of the sport.

The medical community has continued to link concussions to long-term brain damage, which has spurned the NFL to create tougher guidelines for players returning to the field after sustaining a concussion. But the results of this survey suggest that the benefits of playing in the game outweigh the risk to the vast majority of NFL players.

As a follow-up, players were asked if they feel that the NFL is "committed to play safety." The results were much less one-sided, with 60 percent of players saying 'yes' and 40 percent saying 'no.' Bills players fell in line with the overall results here as well, with six of the 10 saying the league is committed to safety.

That highlights the problem for the NFL. They have made strides to protect the long-term viability of the game, but ultimately it offers a lucrative opportunity for both the league and the players. Some of those players saying the league is not committed to player safety are those who said they would play in the Super Bowl with a concussion, a contradiction that puts in the NFL in a tough spot.