NFL to have teams work with neurologists

NEW YORK (AP) - The NFL soon will have its teams work with independent neurologists on concussion issues.

Commissioner Roger Goodell will implement the policy as soon as details can be worked out. The neurologists will work with the teams' medical staffs.

Goodell recently called for players to tell their teams' medical staffs if they think a teammate shows symptoms of a concussion. He and union director DeMaurice Smith also testified before Congress at hearings on football head injuries.

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.

Told of the AP's findings, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail to the AP that Goodell spoke to Smith about "the importance of players reporting head injuries, no matter how minor they believe they might be. The commissioner said that process needs to include players observing and reporting to the team medical staff when a teammate shows symptoms of a concussion."

The NFLPA said it opposes Goodell's suggestion that players tell medical staffs about possible head injuries to teammates.

"If every player were a medical doctor that could recognize symptoms of concussions, then that would be a great idea," NFLPA assistant executive director George Atallah said. "I hope that league - instead of asking players to police each other - would consider calling on team medical staffs and independent doctors to police the situation as closely."

The new NFL policy, first reported Sunday by Fox, could do that.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)