John Madden told the New York Times that this year's version of his popular video football game will have a special emphasis on concussions.
Any player who is hit hard enough to suffer a concussion will be sidelined for the remainder of the digital game. Announcers Gus Johnson and Cris Collinsworth will explain the seriousness of head injuries on screen.
If you ask me, it's a wonderful message to send to Madden's game players, many of whom are young and can use the instruction.
“Concussions are such a big thing, it has to be a big thing in the video game,” Madden told the New York Times. “It starts young kids — they start in video games. I think the osmosis is if you get a concussion, that’s a serious thing and you shouldn’t play. Or leading with the head that you want to eliminate. We want that message to be strong.”
The NFL is working closely with EA Sports on how to properly handle the presentation of concussions in the game. EA Sports officials have said they hope to use it as a teaching tool to their audience.
Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer, whose company seeks to provide honest advice and about media and technology's impact on kids, thinks the move is a "wonderful" idea.
“Video game technology grows more sophisticated and creative every year, and it’s wonderful to see a game developer use that creative energy to empower kids to make safe, smart, and responsible decisions," he said. "Video games provide not only entertainment, but also exciting opportunities for education, both in the classroom and in the living room. We commend John Madden and the team at Electronic Arts for recognizing the responsibility they have to help kids bring important lessons from the virtual field to the real one, such as concussion prevention and safety. This is a great step forward in demonstrating the immense possibilities of video games for learning and behavior change. We hope more game developers follow in their footsteps.”