NFL commissioner Roger Goodell continues his express his strong desire to turn football into a safer sport.
Speaking Wednesday at the University of North Carolina, Goodell said the game's overall health and survival depends upon adapting to rules and equipment that reduce injuries.
"There is a national conversation taking place about football," Goodell said, according to ProFootballTalk.com. "We welcome it ... looking at changes to the game not as something to be feared but as something we need to do as if the future of the game relies on it. Because it does. The risk of injury in football is well known, but throughout history, football has evolved and become safer and better."
The most talked-about injuries are those to the brain, particularly concussions in the NFL, and the long-term effects on players.
"In recent years, there has become a sharper focus on concussions in football and other sports. Let me make an important point here: Concussions are a global issue. Not just a football issue," Goodell said.
Asked about a recent ESPN The Magazine story in which a former NFL player implied that Goodell's greatest fear was a player dying on the field, he denied making such a statement.
"I have never said that," he said.
But he did say Wednesday that he's concerned about injuries.
"Any injury that we see, we want to reduce, particularly catastrophic injuries," Goodell said. "We have been able to do that by carefully managing the rules and carefully doing what we can to improve the equipment, and we are not going to relent on that. We will continue to stay after that."