Marijuana currently falls under the NFL's banned-substance list. (Jin Lee/AP)
Commissioner Roger Goodell might be willing to think outside the box when it comes to helping NFL players deal with head injuries. During a panel Thursday for the league's "Head Health Challenge", Goodell said that the league would continue looking for ways to improve its players' health, including the possible use of medical marijuana.
"I'm not a medical expert," Goodell said, according to USA Today. "We will obviously follow signs. We will follow medicine and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that. Our medical experts are not saying that right now."
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That's a possible development likely a long way off, if it ever has a shot of taking hold in the NFL. Currently, recreational marijuana usage falls under the league's banned-substance list and players can be suspended up to four games for a first offense. The topic was made slightly more newsworthy from the league's perspective because the Broncos and Seahawks both reside in states where recreational marijuana use is now legal.
Attempting to reduce the number of head injuries suffered league-wide has been a primary cause of Goodell's tenure.
Earlier this season, The MMQB published a report entitled "Head Trauma in Football: A Special Report," which took an in-depth look at some of the issues facing Goodell and the league as well as the sport's future in general.
In August of 2013, 35 years after Sports Illustrated ran a cover story of "Brutality: The Crisis in Football," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello reiterated the league's focus on reducing serious injuries of all sorts.
"Is the game safer than it was 35 years ago, or even five years ago? We would say yes, just based on the rule changes that prohibit a variety of dangerous techniques that were once allowed," he said. "There are injuries in any sport, whether it’s a ‘contact’ sport or [not]. Things happen, accidents, all sorts of non-contact knee injuries.
"It’s a risk in any physical activity, from running to riding a bike, playing lacrosse or soccer or football. Our mission is to continue to evolve the game, to make it better and safer."