NFL uses Super Bowl commercial to tackle head injuries

Football equipment geared specifically toward preventing serious injuries could have helped alleviate the bouts of memory loss currently experienced by the NFL's eighth all-time leading rusher, former Dallas Cowboys star Tony Dorsett.

In the last year, more than a dozen lawsuits have been filed against the league by former players, asserting that the NFL did not adequately protect players from head injuries. Dorsett is leading the chorus of voices of former NFL players who suffered head injuries throughout their careers and are now suffering through the ramifications of years of violent collisions.

"I understand you paid me to do this, but still yet, I put my life on the line for you, I put my health on the line," Dorsett told The Associated Press. "And yet when the time comes, you turn your back on me? That's not right. That's not the American way."

In response to these lawsuits and a general concern about head injuries, the NFL has produced a one-minute advertisement set to air during the Super Bowl, highlighting the rule changes it has instituted to reduce the prevalence of these injuries. While the league usually devotes its allotted commercial time toward promoting its television network and other ventures, it is choosing to focus this year on head injuries among its athletes.

Mark Waller, the NFL's chief marketing officer, told The New York Times that the league wanted the commercial to be seen by a sizable audience of both passionate and casual fans, including parents of youth athletes, as a means to stimulate a national discussion about the issue.

Admittedly, part of the problem for former players was a lack of knowledge about concussions and safety equipment. Now, youth coaches and parents alike have an opportunity to educate children as to the hazards of head injuries and the importance of wearing proper sporting equipment, such as football helmets and baseball helmets.