EAST RUTHEFORD, N.J. (WFAN) — Days after a new study shed more light on the long-term impact of concussions on football players, Giants co-owner John Mara said the game is evolving to become safer but that more work must be done.
“It’s a major issue for us,” Mara told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Friday from Giants training camp. “It’s one that we’re putting hundreds of millions of dollars of research into. And we want to get some answers on it because there’s still a lot of uncertainty about this issue. However, we’re not going to wait for the research. We’ve made a lot of rules changes. We teach the game completely differently now than we used to. We’re trying to take the hit out of the game. And I think we’re making progress there, and we’re certainly more educated in how to deal with concussions than we used to be.”
Researchers at Boston University studied the brains of 111 former NFL players and diagnosed 110 of them with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a brain disease linked with repeated head blows.
“If you look at the tape of games now compared to 10 years ago, it’s a completely different game, particularly in the secondary, the way defensive backs hit and the way they try to take their head out of the game and lead with their shoulder,” Mara said. “That was not really happening years ago.
“I’m not comfortable at all (with player safety in the NFL today),” the Giants owner added. “I think we’ve made a lot of adjustments, but I know there’s a lot more work that needs to be done here.”
Concerns about CTE have led to more parents not allowing their kids to play the sport, a potential threat to the NFL down the road.
“That’s why we have to do a better job of teaching the game the right way, how to tackle, how to keep your head up, how to play the game safely,” Mara said. “And I think we are making progress there, Mike, but it’s a P.R. issue as much as anything else. We have to get the word out there that it can be done, particularly at the youth level, in a safe manner.”
To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.
To listen to Francesa’s other interviews from Giants camp, click here.