Both of the NFL Nation survey questions regarding player safety were interesting. Eighty-five percent of the players polled said they would play in the Super Bowl with a concussion. And 60 percent said they believe the NFL is committed to player safety.
Almost every New Orleans Saints player that I surveyed had a similar response to the concussion question -- admitting that it was a very difficult choice. But offensive tackle Zach Strief, who agreed to go on the record with his response, said that the best thing about the NFL’s new concussion protocol has worked great because it takes those tough choices out of the players’ hands for the most part. They must be cleared by team doctors first.
“I think the protocol has been good, it’s working effectively, as it’s been designed to. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than it was,” said Strief, who said it has also been good that the overall perception has been changed among teammates and fans, etc., that you don’t just think, “If your head hurts, suck it up and get back out there.”
As for whether the NFL is committed to player safety, I got the impression players would have preferred to rate that answer on a 1-to-10 scale rather than simply answering true or false. But a majority seemed to agree that the league has become more committed in recent years.