NEW YORK — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly will expand restrictions on returning to games for players who sustain head trauma.
Fox Sports reported Sunday that Goodell will issue a memo this week to all 32 teams expanding grounds for the removal of a player with a head injury or concussion.
Currently, a player can return to the game after being diagnosed with a concussion if he is asymptomatic at rest and under exertion, and is cleared by the team doctor. The lone exception is if the medical staff determines the player lost consciousness, in which case he is ruled out for the remainder of the game.
The report said that if a player is "woozy, has general dementia or memory loss," Goodell wants him barred from returning to a game.
"We are continuing to review all aspects of our guidelines on concussion management and treatment," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
The league would not comment on the Fox report.
The Steelers made Ben Roethlisberger their third quarterback for Sunday night's game in Baltimore after he sustained his fourth concussion since 2006 in a loss at Kansas City last weekend. Roethlisberger practiced this week, but began experiencing headaches resulting from the concussion. He was examined Saturday by an independent neurologist, a practice the Steelers have used for years in dealing with head injuries, before the team decided to bench him.
The Associated Press this month conducted a survey of 160 NFL players – about 10 percent of the league – and 30 replied that they have hidden or played down the effects of a concussion.
The NFL says its data show an average of one reported concussion every other game – about 120 to 130 concussions per regular season. Of the 160 players interviewed by the AP, half said they've had at least one concussion playing football; 61 said they missed playing time because of the injury.