Today’s health and safety news surrounding sports:
* The Associated Press reported that the NFL and the NCAA will hold its third annual coaching academy to help its prospective coaches. Among the former players scheduled to attend are Mark Brunell, Terrell Buckley and Andre Rison.
The third annual NFL-NCAA Coaches Academy will run Sunday through Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., the two organizations announced Wednesday. The program is one of several initiatives NFL officials hope will prevent a repeat of this offseason, when none of the league’s eight head coaching openings went to minority candidates.
Forty-five of the 60 attendees are African-American. The opening night keynote speaker is the Carolina Panthers‘ Ron Rivera, the NFL’s only current Hispanic head coach.
* KLEW-TV reported that the NFL has awarded $100,000 to Washington State and assistant professor Krzysztof Czaja to continue concussion research.
“Our recent discovery showed that we can generate neurons, we can produce neurons outside the brain,” said Czaja.
Czaja discovered this about five years ago when he was experimenting on rats’ brains.
“We can trigger generation of new neurons outside the brain, in the nodose ganglia, which is sort of a little brain outside the brain,” said Czaja. “And we have the same. Humans, we have the same ganglia.”
* The idea of widening the NFL field is not a new one, NFL.com reported.
According to NFL senior vice president Ray Anderson, the league’s liaison to the competition committee, which Polian used to chair, the concept has been floated in the past.
“It was an idea bantered about two or three years ago as part of a safety discussion,” Anderson said Tuesday afternoon. “It didn’t get much traction at all then, and it’s not on the agenda for this upcoming series of competition committee meetings. I don’t see that as something to be discussed anytime soon.”
* FoxNews asked if NFL players like Colin Kaepernick are helping tattoos grow in popularity.
* Dallas Mavericks center Chris Kaman, who criticized the NBA’s concussion program, passed his cognitive tests and is cleared to play, ESPN reported.
* A high school football team in Alaska is switching to the Riddell 360 helmets in an effort to cut down on concussions, according to AlaskaPublic.org.
* WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, Va., provided a report on youth athletes and concussions.
* The Orlando Sentinel’s Moms at Work blog discussed the subject of kids playing football.
* Forbes asks if it isn’t time for the NHL to consider rules changes to eliminate fighting and reduce brain injuries.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor