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National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell will give the Department of Exercise and Sport Science’s annual Carl Blyth Lecture at Carolina on Wednesday. The lecture, titled “Progress on the Road to a Safer Game,” will begin at 12:15 p.m. in Alumni Hall at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center.

No tickets remain for the event, but a livestream of Goodell’s remarks will be available for viewing here.

Goodell is the ninth commissioner of the NFL and assumed his post in 2006. He began his career as an administrative intern with the NFL’s league office in 1982. Since taking over as commissioner, Goodell has helped secure a 10-year collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association and new long-term television contracts with CBS, FOX and NBC. Goodell has also led initiatives to improve safety and health for current players and better meet the needs of retired players.

Goodell’s interest in the best ways to improve player health and safety are a major reason for his visit to Carolina. UNC has been at the forefront in the field of injury research through endeavors like the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. While he is on campus, Goodell will meet with Carolina faculty and students and tour the Gfeller Center, the Stallings Sports Medicine Center and the Sports Medicine Research Lab in Fetzer Hall.

The Blyth Lecture is named for the late Carl Blyth, a leading researcher in the field of athletic injuries who served the University for 36 years until he retired in 1985. He established the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at UNC in 1965.

The topic of injury prevention will also be front-and-center later this week when Carolina hosts the second Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Neurotrauma Symposium on March 8-9. The event focuses on how to recognize, manage and prevent serious head injuries among high school and college athletes.

ESPN analyst Merril Hoge, a fullback who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears and was forced to retire because of post-concussion syndrome, will be a featured speaker. Other major speakers and their topics include:

  • Kevin Guskiewicz, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Exercise and Sport Science at Carolina and 2011 MacArthur Fellow, “Neurotrauma: Engaging research to affect clinical care”;
  • Christopher Giza, professor of pediatric neurology and neurosurgery at the UCLA School of Medicine, “Top 10: What we do and do not know about concussions”;
  • Gerard A. Gioia, a UNC graduate and chief of pediatric neuropsychology at Children’s National Medical Center in Rockville, Md., “Special considerations for youth athletes”;
  • Robert C. Cantu, clinical professor of neurosurgery and co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at the Boston University School of Medicine, “Are professional sports athletes different from the rest?”

Published March 5, 2013.