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DeMaurice Smith sends out email to union members, agents about changes in concussion protocol

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(USA Today Sports Images)

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith sent out an email to more than 2,000 union members and their representatives, outlining some of the health and safety changes that have been made this season.

Yahoo obtained a copy of the memo, which detailed the ways in which the union says it has improved safety for this season. There is a new set of concussion protocols, an independent neurologist (a big insistence in the past by the NFLPA) and a checklist for players who may have suffered concussions and what to look for.

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The NFLPA and its medical advisors insisted that the NFL Head Neck and Spine Committee provide the teams' medical staffs with a clear process for diagnosing and managing concussions, and the protocols are mandatory for in-game injuries.

The 32 teams all now also employ concussion specialists for every game to "identify concussions and aid with the management of head and neck injuries," according to the memo. The physicians are known as "€œUnaffiliated Neuro-trauma Consultants" and are not otherwise affiliated with the teams they'll serve and will assist with team physicians when appropriate.

Third, the NFLPA, American Academy of Neurology and the American College of Emergency Room Physicians have produced a concussion "Tip Sheet" to provide critical information on concussion diagnosis and care. In addition to the email sent out, all players received a paper copy in their lockers.

Smith also congratulated the NFLPA for successfully creating health and safety changes.

"Nearly three years after our lockout, with significant improvements won in the realm of player health and safety, we can be proud of the progress players have made in protecting themselves and their livelihood."

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