How heart surgery affects the future of NFL players
Cardiac surgery is no longer a one-time occurrence, as players can now be expected to play through it indefinitely.
In the past, surgery for aneurysms was a permanent condition that would require a second operation or even a repeat procedure.
The NFL’s policy changed this year, with the league’s governing body changing its policy to allow players to have heart surgery at any time.
But heart surgery isn’t guaranteed for every player, and for many it means a major adjustment.
“It’s not going to be the same after a year or two or three,” NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
“It’s a bit of a gamble for most guys, but there’s going to come a time where you can’t do this anymore.”
Players will also have to take on more responsibility for their own health.
“I think it’s something that I’m really excited about because it’s a big change,” Saints linebacker Jairus Byrd told Mortensen of the heart surgery policy.
“We’re going to have to get used to being in charge.
I’m excited about that, but I’m also excited for our guys.”
It’s also a big deal for NFL players to see their names attached to a new type of helmet, one that has been on the market for years.
For the first time, NFL teams are now able to use a new, proprietary helmet-compensation package to protect their players from concussions and other head injuries.
Players who suffer concussions or other injuries from the helmet may be eligible for the new helmet.
“This is a big milestone for the league,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told Mortenson.
The new helmet, called the CBA Helmet, is an extension of the league-approved CBA, which went into effect in January, and allows players to wear a head-up display (HUD) helmet in lieu of the standard visor, which is attached to the helmet.
While it’s technically the same helmet, the HUD is designed to provide more protection for players.
In 2018, the NFL announced that the helmet would be required on every player who played in a game.
This year, players will have to wear the helmet for the first two games of the regular season, then switch to the standard helmet for Week 1.
Players who aren’t able to wear their standard helmet will still be required to wear an optional CBA helmet, which includes an integrated visor for all helmet games.