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SPORTS: FOOTBALL: PROFESSIONAL:
In the NFL, Helmet Sensors are a Sensitive Issue
By BRETT MARTEL
Associated Press (AP)
Myrtle Beach Online
The NFL Players Association's Mackey-White Committee, which spearheads
player safety initiatives, spent considerable time discussing not only the
potential health benefits of helmet sensors, but also the legal and
ethical pitfalls that come with them in mid-April.
Committee members made it clear the NFLPA wants to pursue placing sensors
in helmets as soon as the technology meets its standards. But the union
also wants to ensure sensor data isn't used in a way that infringes upon
players' medical privacy rights, or creates scenarios whereby careers are
arbitrarily cut short by the teams for which they play.
NFLPA President Eric Winston, a Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle, sits
on the Mackey-White committee. Winston said players are also wary of how
the NFL could use or manipulate sensor data to limit its liability in
current or future concussion lawsuits.
"That's extremely concerning," Winston said. "We want (helmet sensors) to
make sure that our players are healthy, and if they aren't healthy, let
them know why and how we can help train them. But we never want it to be
used against them. So as we're trying to protect our guys health-wise,
we're also making sure that we're protecting their rights at the same
NFL vice president Jeff Miller, who oversees the league's health and
safety policies, said the league's focus, as it relates to helmet sensors,
is making football safer.
"There has to be protocols in place to protect individual players' health
information, and we will certainly respect that," Miller said. "The
league's concern is the health and safety of players and making the game
better and safer for those who play it.
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