NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The NFL and other organizations are heading up research program they hope will help improve safety and prevent concussions.

Plagued by concussions and high-profile suicides, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at a news conference in Midtown Monday that rule changes alone will not prevent head injuries.

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As 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported, Goodell said the NFL needs to know more about head injuries, including how to diagnose and treat them more effectively.

“I’m hoping that the advances that we make in football will help all sports, and beyond sports, because it’s a reality of physical activity,” Goodell said.

It is a $60 million endeavor, joining forces with the U.S. Army, NCAA, Under Armour and General Electric.

“This will be cutting edge imaging, biomarkers, biosensors,” said GE chief executive officer Jeffrey R. Immelt.

The goal, they said, is not to stop sports, but to protect ourselves while we play.

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A recent ESPN The Magazine profile on Goodell claimed the commissioner was petrified of a player dying on the field — a story later disputed by NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.

Last week, Goodell came to his own defense.

“I have never said that,” he said.

Goodell called for “a culture of safety for every sport” and welcomes the national conversation about player safety and the growing issue of concussions.

The NFL is facing concussion-related lawsuits from thousands of former players. In a series of interviews about head injuries with The Associated Press in December 2011, 31 of 44 players said they wanted the league to have independent neurologists at games.

What must the NFL do to protect its players? Be heard in the comments…

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