The NFL’s new head of health and safety is asking his players not to talk about neck surgery.
And while he won’t say it publicly, the league is now looking at what is known as “cognitive restructuring” and other options.
The league said Thursday that the issue is being examined and that the league’s concussion committee is in the process of assessing what changes would be appropriate.
Players and trainers are also being asked to be more clear about what types of surgeries are safe and safe to do, which includes a number of surgeries on the neck.
But the league has also said the league would like to see more players talking about what surgery they’re considering.
The concussion committee will also have the opportunity to talk with a broad range of sports medicine experts to determine what options might be best, the NFL said.
“I don’t want the media to make it sound like the NFL is going to say, ‘We don’t think there are options,’ ” commissioner Roger Goodell said during a conference call Thursday.
“We’re going to get to that in the future.”
The NFL has long been aware of the risks associated with the neck, but many of the problems have been in the past.
The concussion committee has been looking at alternatives, and it’s not clear if the league will pursue any of them.
In 2014, the U.S. Surgeon General recommended a concussion protocol, but it didn’t have the same broad public support that the NFL does.
Several teams, including the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings, have started to publicly acknowledge the risks of concussions and are offering a plan to prevent them.
The league also has begun testing players in a pilot program, but has not provided details about the testing or its results.
When the NFL and the Surgeon general came together on the concussion protocol in 2014, they said they wanted the guidelines to be broad, so that it could include sports medicine professionals and athletes from across the NFL.
Some experts have expressed concern about how much of a role the NFL might play in this discussion, given the NFL was one of the first sports leagues to embrace the protocols.
But Goodell said Thursday the league was committed to getting to a consensus on the issues.
“The goal is to find solutions that are mutually acceptable and that will improve the health and well-being of our players, coaches, executives, owners and fans,” he said.