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American Football: Tagliabue demands full disclosure of injuries

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posted on Aug, 17 2004 @ 11:51 AM
In a new directive sent Monday to all 32 NFL teams, commissioner Paul Tagliabue laid down new ground rules for reporting injuries that is certain to draw disapproval from NFL coaches who are guarded in their public disclosures.

Tagliabue said that teams may no longer simply list a player as having a "leg injury," but must specify whether the injury is an "ankle, knee, calf or thigh." He stressed that teams must be factual and accurate with their information.

The memo also went so far as to tell teams that they must report any player who does not participate in the full-team (11-on-11) portion of any practice, and the reason for that player's non-participation.

In addition, it encouraged coaches to open at least a part of practice to the media, although it did not make that mandatory.

Some coaches, including New England's Bill Belichick, have been accused of deliberately fudging injuries, claiming that to disclose what area of the body is hurting would encourage opponents to deliberately go after the sore spot. However, the competition committee, which approved the memo, includes coaches Jeff Fisher of Tennessee and Mike Holmgren of Seattle.

Tagliabue also will require that Friday be the new mandatory day to update injuries. Previously, teams would provide injury updates on Wednesday and Thursday, although some have been reprimanded for not disclosing a significant or worsened injury that may have occurred during a Friday practice.

Tagliabue promised strict enforcement of the new ground rules, telling clubs that the league will screen random videotapes.

"The policy will be strictly enforced and violations will be subject to disciplinary action," the commissioner warned in the memo.


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