Madden 2012 and Concussions


Madden NFL 12, the coming version of the eerily true-to-life N.F.L. video game played by millions of gamers, will be realistic enough not only to show players receiving concussions, but also to show any player who sustains one being sidelined for the rest of the game -- no exceptions. Beyond that, in the background, the game's announcers will explain that the player was removed because of the seriousness of head injuries. 

Player animations, now sophisticated enough to depict Peyton Manning's throwing motion and Randy Moss's gait, will not display helmet-to-helmet tackles, hits to the heads of defenseless players or dangerous headfirst tackling, said Phil Frazier, the executive producer of Madden 12. 

John Madden, the Hall of Fame coach for whom the game is named and who is involved in its development, said that the impetus for the changes was twofold: to further hone the game's realism, and to teach youngsters to play football more safely.

And yet I can't escape the sense that the sport is facing something more existential. I should be all atwitter about Dez Bryan'ts recent problems. And yet, I just kind of don't care. I wonder how I'll feel when (if) the season starts...
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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