More Touchbacks = Less Concussions, NFL Reports

The co-chair of NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee, Hunt Batjer, reported yesterday in Chicago that concussions dropped 50 percent on kickoffs as compared to previous years.  Speaking at a forum about NFL health and safety Batjer confirmed what we had said with our observational data;

“We just got the data recently, it looks to me like a decreased number of runbacks played a role. It did not affect a lot of the other injuries paradoxically.”

In this article by Brad Biggs there is also a good sub-story about Hunter Hillenmeyer and his dealings Continue reading

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NFL Kickoff Change

A lot has been made of this change in the kickoff rules, mainly by those that think the game will “inherently” change because of this.  I am not so sure we are looking at a doomsday scenario like that.  Rather, I do feel that limiting the full speed collisions over the season will in fact reduce the chances of concussions in that particular “subset” of the game.

I must admit that while tracking the concussions in the NFL last season specific plays and situations were not part of data collection.  However, it is empirically noted that the full speed nature over great distance have resulted in many concussions.  There have been a variety of stories about players getting drilled during special teams.  In fact, most of the “journeyman” that appear on the concussed list sustained those injuries during that phase of the game.  The specific nuances of the rule were described by Rich McKay in New Orleans;

Playing Rule Proposal No. 2 was the kickoff.  That rule passed and ended up in a form we called Playing Rule Proposal No. 2A.  2A ended up having the following elements: the kickoff will be from the 35-yard line; Continue reading