Roger Goodell Discusses Concussions, Risks of Football on 'Good Morning America'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2016

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell gestures while speaking before the NFL Women’s Summit Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated Friday he witnessed a "culture change" when it comes to concussion awareness during the 2015 season.

Katie Kindelan of ABC News passed along comments Goodell made during an interview with Robin Roberts of Good Morning America. He emerged pleased with the direction of the league's efforts and the response from players.

"The number of concussions went up this year and they're going to go up and they're going to go down in any given season, but screenings went up by 108 percent and also we saw more self-reporting in the players and teammates," Goodell said. "That's what I call the culture change."

The commissioner believes safety is on the rise with the "it's just a ding" mentality going by the wayside. He also discussed whether he would allow a son—he has two daughters—to play the sport.

"I would not only want him to play football, I would certainly encourage him to do it and I would let him do it," Goodell told GMA. “There is risk involved in anything in life but what we need to do is to make sure we show people how to get the most out of playing sports and do it safely.”

He stated the NFL has provided more than $100 million for research and thinks that could help "make all sports safer, the military safer, and quite frankly will probably have an impact on brain disease in general."

Goodell's comments come after the NFL released injury data for the 2015 preseason and regular season. The numbers showed there were 271 reported concussions, a four-year high, and that 92 of those were caused by helmet-to-helmet collisions.

Those statistics come at a time when the concussion issue is gaining a lot of mainstream attention as former players deal with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Jason M. Breslow of PBS noted last September that a study showed 96 percent of former players (87 of 91) tested positive.

Finding a way to make the game safer for its players, both during their time on the field and once they retire from the sport, is crucial. For now, Goodell apparently sees progress toward reaching that goal.