Madden 2012 Emphasizes The NFL’s Concussion Problem
If there’s no NFL season in 2011 thanks to an NFL lockout, there’s a pretty good chance that sales of the Madden 2012 game could skyrocket even higher than usual with football fans looking to get their gridiron fix on Sunday afternoons. And for the millions of gamers out there that’ll buy the game this year, Madden 2012 will be more than just entertainment—it’ll also be an educational tool that’ll help inform football fans about the danger of concussions.
We know, we know. You don’t want to be—pardon the pun—beat over the head by educational messages about concussions while you’re trying to run up the score with Aaron Rodgers and the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. Which is why EA Sports is taking a different approach to concussions suffered in the game than they have in the past in order to get their point across without it becoming a distraction.
When a player suffers a concussion in Madden 2012, he will not be listed as probable, questionable, or even doubtful on the in-game injury report. Rather, he will be listed definitively as “Out” with the concussion and the game’s announcers will take the time to explain why he’s out with the concussion later on during the game. Ideally, it’ll be a quick explanation that doesn’t disrupt the flow of the game but does help show that concussions are a serious topic in today’s NFL—and, more broadly, in today’s world.
Concussions have become a big deal in sports in recent years but they haven’t been treated as such by the NFL and other professional sports league until the last year or so. And if we’re being honest here, they still aren’t really taken as seriously as they probably should be, given the negative side effects that they can cause people to have. As a result, young kids see their favorite pro athletes taking shots to the head and playing through it and they want to do the same. They don’t understand that they could be doing a lot of damage to their bodies by refusing to seek proper medical attention.
This makes efforts like the one EA is making completely necessary. By sacrificing a few seconds of gameplay in order to spread the word about concussions, Madden 2012 will get young kids thinking about how concussions affect pro players. It may not generate a ton of conversation amongst tweens, but it will subliminally get them thinking about concussions and make them aware of the consequences of them. If EA can get even a small percentage of Madden players to take concussions more seriously due to the changes in the new game, they’ve done their job by including them.
There may not be an NFL season this fall, but that doesn’t mean people won’t be talking about football, wishing for football, and, of course, playing football on their PlayStation 3s, XBox 360s, and Wiis. So kudos for EA to doing their part to put an end to dangerous concussions. We just hope the NFL follows suit and continues to make it a part of their quest moving forward. Because lockout or not, the concussion issue isn’t going anywhere—and we’re just glad someone is finally giving it the attention it deserves.