Week 7 of the NFL (though Sunday) was a dramatic shift from the previous week. After Week 6 and the reported nine head injuries (or ten on some websites, including this one) the NFL sent a strong and swift message to the players; “stop going for the head.” Heavy fines were imposed on three players for very questionable hits – James Harrison $75,000, Dunta Robinson $50,000, and Brandon Merriweather $50,000. The latter of the three was the most blatant of the bunch, while the others were unfortunate results of high impact collisions.
Was that message received?
After all, we have only possible head injuries from scattered sources of three players (Thomas Decloud, Jeremy Maclin, and Max Hall). The announcers of the games talked about the dangers of head injuries ad nauseum and the fodder on the web and TV is not there.
In the game of football, players are placed in positions to be hurt on almost every play, and shots to the head or body that could result in concussions are seemingly omnipresent. The cleanest of hits can result in head trauma, even without contact to the head/neck. To be honest, it’s amazing that the rate of concussions is not higher.
In the 24-hour news cycle and instant access to information that we all crave (guilty), we as the public are quick to make correlations with a limited sample size. Add to that the ever-increasing awareness of concussions, and one would think that a week like this would mean that the league is doing yeoman’s work in this area.
Caution!!! Concussions will continue to happen, maybe not in the bunches we saw Week 6, but they will be ever-present. The only hope is that teams and players are not driven to keep this injury quiet in order to protect others from fines and suspensions. Or worse, hide a concussion and its symptoms to be a “warrior” only to feel the crippling effects years down the road.
“Maybe” is the only answer I can give to the above question.