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In wake of NFL settlement, CFL commissioner says league proactive on concussions

In this file photo, CFL commissioner Mark Cohon speaks after Toronto Argonauts coach Scott Milanovich was named the Canadian Football League's coach of the year in Regina, Thursday, Feb.28, 2013. Cohon wouldn’t comment Monday on the NFL’s settlement with its players over brain injuries, saying the CFL has been proactive in addressing concussions.


The commissioner of the Canadian Football League wouldn't comment Monday on the NFL's settlement with its players over brain injuries, saying the CFL has been proactive in addressing concussions.

The NFL has agreed to settle a lawsuit launched by former players suffering dementia and concussion-related brain injuries for $765-million (U.S.) instead of going to trial, according to The Associated Press.

In the lawsuit, hundreds of players accused the NFL of hiding the long-term dangers of concussions and hurrying injured players back onto the field, while profiting from the game's violence.

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When asked if the CFL is preparing for the day when a similar lawsuit might be launched against the league, Mark Cohon refused to draw comparisons.

"I'm not going to speculate on what's going to happen," the commissioner told reporters prior to the Labour Day game in Calgary. "I'm not going to comment on their settlement.

"What we're essentially doing is making sure we're focused on player safety. What we've been doing for years now is putting the right protocols in place. We actually had protocols in place on our sidelines well before the NFL had them. We look at discipline, concussion protocols, education.

"This is all part of the process [of] what we do with our players, with our doctors to make sure the players are safe. We want young kids playing the game so we've got to make sure that we make our game as safe as we can without taking away what football is all about."

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo, the CFL's career leader in completions, passing yards and touchdown passes, is currently sidelined after suffering a concussion Aug. 17 in a game against Saskatchewan.

Calvillo, 41, told reporters in Montreal on Friday that he was still experiencing headaches and also that his vision was affected.

"Anthony has had concussions in the past. A lot of our players have had concussions," Cohon said. "You never like to see your star player go down, but the most important thing is making sure we look after that player.

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"We make sure he's diagnosed on the sideline. We make sure that he only comes back when he's medically cleared and ready to go. That's why he's sitting on the sideline until he's ready. That's what we do whether he's Anthony Calvillo or a rookie player."

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