A letter from Raymond Odierno, U.S. Army Chief of Staff General, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to America's soldiers and NFL players announcing an initiative launched after Goodell joined Gen. Odierno, former NFL players and medical professionals at West Point last week:
Dear Soldiers and NFL Players:
The U.S. Army and the NFL have begun a long-term initiative to enhance the safety of our Soldiers and Players. Our coordinated efforts aim to inform and educate our respective communities about traumatic brain injuries, empowering you to maintain healthier minds on the playing field and the battlefield.
Our organizations share common traits: pride and passion, dedication and determination, and an enduring belief in the power of team. On a personal level, there is mutual respect, appreciation and admiration between Soldiers and Players. While the execution of our crafts is fundamentally different, these traits make America’s Soldiers and NFL Players who they are and the best at what they do.
With this initiative, we are seeking to integrate the uncompromising devotion to win with a need to address traumatic brain injuries with the necessary care, consideration, and commitment to prevention that these injuries require.
With this combined effort, Soldiers and Players are encouraged to discuss issues relating to brain injuries — sharing information, lessons learned and useful tips on how to best recognize, prevent and treat a brain injury. Our objective is to inform the core element of our organizations — our people — with a collective realization that caring for head injuries is a vital part of the mission and game plan. We also hope to instill a realization that it’s not just about taking care of the individual. It’s also about looking after one’s teammates.
We know that this mission cannot be accomplished alone. It is a shared responsibility. A concussion is a brain injury that is not always easily recognizable to the untrained eye. We want to encourage and empower Soldiers and Players to take an active role in the education and prevention process. We all have a crucial role in making sure a brain injury is properly identified and treated.
To support this effort, the NFL today is launching a website dedicated to this initiative — NFL.com/military. As an extension of NFL.com, this site provides service members exclusive access to football news and the most up-to-date information on brain injuries.
By coming together in this historic effort, we are combining and strengthening our forces. As we continue to focus our efforts on encouraging safer environments, we will continue to celebrate the spirit of competition and determination that define our two organizations. Working together, we will ensure longer careers and healthier lives. Working together, we all become stronger. And working together, we have the power to make a real difference. We hope you will join us.
Raymond T. Odierno, General, United States Army, Chief of Staff
Roger Goodell, Commissioner, National Football League