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

By Michael DiRocco

The dangers of concussions has become the hottest issue in the NFL over the past several seasons.

The plight of numerous former players suffering from the long-term effects of concussions has made players acutely aware of the risk they undertake every time they step on the field. Multiple concussions have been linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and, in some cases, suicide.

Yet despite all the data and evidence, both empirical and anecdotal, that shows how devastating repeated concussions can be, most NFL players say they would play in the Super Bowl with a concussion. In an NFL Nation confidential survey of 320 players, a whopping 272 (85 percent) said they’d still get on the field.

Yet many of those same players who would admittedly risk their own health don’t believe the NFL is committed to player safety. Only 60 percent (192) of the players surveyed said the league cares about their safety.

Nine of the 10 Jaguars players surveyed said they would play in the Super Bowl with a concussion and the only one who didn’t was actually gently chastised by several nearby players that also participated in the survey.

The nine players that said they would risk their health to play in the title game because that might be their only chance to do so. Reaching the Super Bowl is hard and nothing is guaranteed in the NFL, and the players don’t have to look outside their locker room to realize that.

The Jaguars reached the AFC Championship Game after the 1996 season and again after the 1999 season but lost both games. The franchise has made just two playoff appearances since.

Jaguars players seem to be more cynical when it comes to the NFL and its commitment to player safety. Seven of the 10 players surveyed said they don’t believe the league is looking out for their health. Several said the league cares about quarterbacks, receivers, and running backs and has enacted rules and implemented stiff fines to protect those players but has done little or nothing for the other positions.