Yesterday Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL competition committee, made comments regarding player safety and rules. Of note was McKay stating that kickoff concussions were down from the previous year, he credits the rule change of moving the ball up five yards on the kickoff;
McKay said Monday that concussions on kickoffs dropped by 40 percent during the 2011 season which likely goes hand in hand with the fact that kickoff returns dropped by 53 percent.
Also in the AP story – linked in various places – McKay released information about concussions being down, for “in-game” situations, versus the previous year;
For all plays, concussions were down 12.5 percent, from 218 in 321 games in 2010 to 190 in 320 games last season. There was no Hall of Fame game last year because of the lockout.
In the end of the year wrap up posted in January you will note not only did we mention the decline in the kickoff concussions, but our data on the past two seasons;
The 200+ concussions should not come as a surprise, as we told you to expect that back in the preseason, Continue reading
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