Birk promoting player safety at Super Bowl

January 30, 2013 | WNST Staff



(on getting involved with the new device a sensor by MC10 and Reebok for tracking the impact of hits) “I guess football has done so much for me in my life and I think it’s a great game. Not just aside from playing professional football, but I think it’s a great game to teach a lot of lessons and a lot of things about life that are very valuable. I think especially as NFL players, we should try to help the game in making it as safe as possible. That’s certainly a hot topic these days, and in our game that filters down to the kids’ level, and as a father and as someone who’s concerned about kids and their safety and just doing everything we can to make the game safe and make it positive.”


(on the device a sensor by MC10 and Reebok helping the college and high school level) “The device were talking about is the sensor from MC10 and Reebok.  It gives you instant feedback on the impact of hits during a game and it talks about head injuries and concussions it’s not like a broken bone or something that’s very evident to the eye or to a medical doctor so this device gives you instant feedback as far as the impact and how great it was, in order to measure that so coaches and parents and medical staff aren’t waiting until after to get that data. Right away they know there’s an impact and a reason to be alarmed and get the kid out and taken through the battery of testing.”


(on how the concussion message has changed the NFL) “The culture has definitely changed.  Way back when you didn’t really talk about it and it wasn’t really considered, in a lot of ways, a real injury by players because that was just the talk in the locker room.  You just played through it, you did everything you could to play through it.  Nowadays with all of the things we’re finding out with the long term effects, attitudes have changed among players, and, if a guy has a concussion, it’s definitely accepted in the locker room because it’s so important as a player and on a team to have the respect of your teammates.  Now a days with all of the unfortunate data and cases that come across now, its okay to say ‘Yeah I have a concussion I can’t go back out.’”


(on donating his brain for research) “It’s my obligation as a professional football player to try to do my part to make the game as safe as possible for future generations.  I don’t really look at donating my brain as that big of a deal, it’s kind of like donating an organ.  I think it’s something that I should do.”


(on motivating his teammates to also donate their brains for research to the Boston University project) “I’ve talked to them about it and just try to explain it.  It’s kind of a morbid thing when you think about it and it kind catches you, but really if you think about it, it’s not that big of a deal.  You don’t need it once you’re dead and I think it’s important for the cause and for them to compile as much data so they can learn as much as they can about head traumas and the effect it has. CTE and all these things that weren’t on anybody’s radar five years ago.”


(on what his hope is in donating his brain and his involvement in this cause) “Just to make the game safer.  I think this is great that we’re having this discussion now.  Five years ago we weren’t talking about this and it’s so important for our game at the professional level and the future of it, but especially and more importantly, for the hundreds and thousands of kids that play football.  It’s a great game.  The best thing about football is the things that it teaches you about life and being a part of a team, something greater than yourself, values, teamwork, hard work, overcoming adversity, all of those things, and to show all these kids who play that they’re as safe as possible and can have a positive experience.”