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Roger Goodell calls on states to protect children's noggins

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The state of Washington recently passed a law that's being called "the Lystedt law," named for a middle-school football player who suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Thirteen-year-old Zackery Lystedt's head bounced off the turf in a game, and he suffered a concussion. Later, he went back into the same game and made a key play on defense. Immediately after the game, though, he collapsed, was airlifted to a hospital, and then had two brain surgeries in a 10-hour span and stayed in a coma for a month.

And now, Roger Goodell has written a letter to 44 state governors, asking them to pass similar laws. Here's what that law dictates:

The Lystedt law contains three essential elements:

• Athletes, parents and coaches must be educated about the dangers of concussions each year.

• If a young athlete is suspected of having a concussion, he/she must be removed from a game or practice and not be permitted to return to play.

• A licensed health care professional must clear the young athlete to return to play in the subsequent days or weeks.

So, let's use the most basic human level of common sense and not allow children's heads to be repeatedly battered as if they were Hedy Lamarr's paddleball? Okie dokie. I'll support that. It's odd and slightly tragic that we need a law for that, but whatever. It's progress.

And good for Roger Goodell for joining the cause and trying to get other states to fall in line. I don't know how much juice the NFL commissioner has with state governors, but hey, a letter from a famous guy who controls a lot of money certainly can't hurt.

I hope, in addition, that Goodell will be just as vigilant and forward-thinking with concussions that occur in the NFL, which I'm not always convinced is the case. The letter is great, but it would probably be far more important and impactful for the NFL to simply set a great example with how it deals with concussions.

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