EA cracking down on concussions in Madden 12

Publisher aims to educate players of the true risks of the game

Concussions are one of the most dangerous injuries a football player can sustain, and EA is seeking to drive this message home by tweaking its Madden NFL series to treat concussed players in a dramatic new way.

In Madden 2012, players who receive a concussion during a match will be sidelined for the remainder of the game with zero hopes of returning to the field. In addition, the in-game announcers - Gus Johnson and Chris Collinsworth - will comment on the injury, making special mention of its symptoms and serious implications.

"Concussions are such a big thing, it has to be a big thing in the video game," said John Madden in an interview with the New York Times. "It starts young. Kids %26mdash; they start in video games. I think the osmosis is if you get a concussion, that%26rsquo;s a serious thing and you shouldn%26rsquo;t play. Or leading with the head that you want to eliminate. We want that message to be strong."

Madden said EA's decision to alter its treatment of concussions was born of the publisher's desire to inject more realism to the franchise and to educate players on the real-life (and sometimes fatal) dangers associated with head injuries. As expected, the changes are being well received by both the NFL and the sports industry in whole.

"It%26rsquo;s a great approach to teach kids in a way that no one else can reach," said Chris Nowinski, a former Harvard footballer and the co-director of the Sports Legacy Institute, adding, "Considering how hard it is to reach young kids and expose them early, this is brilliant. You%26rsquo;re training kids from the cradle to play sports more safely. If you get a concussion, come out of the game. You can%26rsquo;t unteach that."

Sports injuries are rarely treated with the gravitas they deserve in games, so good on EA for taking the lead. That being said, we wouldn't be too taken aback to see an option for players to miraculously heal themselves for a small micro-payment to EA Online...

[Source: NBC Sports]

April 4, 2011

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