NFL Tackles Concussion Issue on Team-By-Team Basis

NFL Tackles Concussion Issue on Team-By-Team Basis

The NFL says it has held discussions with seven teams and did a targeted intervention on concussions. Do you think they’re making progress?

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The NFL is tackling the issue regarding concussions, as the number of concussions continue to rise. In 2017, NFL players were diagnosed with more concussions than in any other season, since the league bag sharing the state in 2012, according to informed released and reported by ESPN.

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head, which don’t always result in losing consciousness. Reports show that the number of retired players who have suffered from concussions have went on to develop memory and cognitive issues such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), ESPN reported.

The startling numbers have caused many to be concerned and now the NFL has decided to handle the concussion issues on a team-by-by team basis. The owners met in New York, where Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said the league has identified seven teams that had a higher incidence of preseason concussions than the others did.  The results led to a “targeted intervention with those clubs.” The process involved a wide-range of discussions with the football operations staffs of the teams, as well as going over the design of practice drills, and which helmets players were wearing, Sills said.

“In six of those seven clubs, the numbers did go down,” Sills said. “Those seven clubs had 23 practice concussions as a whole in 2017, down to nine in 2018.”

The NFL had previously modified its kickoff rules, this year to make the play safer, since the traditional play resulted in a significantly higher rate of concussions than other plays. The decision may have been a smart move from the NFL, seeing that there have been zero concussions on kickoff plays since the preseason began. In fact, concussions are down from 91 in 2017 to 79 this year so far.

“We are pleased to see that number go down, but we still have a lot of work to do. We are continuing a more in-depth analysis of the concussions that did happen during the preseason. Doing some of the same work we’ve been doing during the regular season, looking at videos and seeing what the practice environment is — seeing who was injured in what role. We are going to be doing more of a deep dive into that.” Sill said regarding the preseason concussion numbers.

In addition, the league also handed out a flyer in the preseason ranking helmets on a green-to red scale, to indicate whether players needed to change their helmets. The helmet rating system was developed in conjunction with the NFLPA, with green being good and red being bad. Sills and Jeff Miller, the NFL’s vice president of player health and safety, said they are pleased by the results the helmet rating system has yielded, as they continue to see more players changing their helmets to a safer one.

Helmets that have been ranked into the red category will be prohibited beginning this year for all new players and players who are already in the league, will be given what they call a “grandfather” year to find a helmet that worked for them but still falls in the approved category. Miller said the number of players wearing red-rated helmets fell from 230 last year to 40 as of Week 3 of this season.

Player safety has become important for the league that Kansas City Chiefs rookie linebacker Breeland Speaks said he didn’t take Tom Brady down during a game, because he was concerned about a roughing-the-passer penalty in the fourth quarter of Kansas City’s 43-40 loss at New England. Brady then dodged Speaks and ran four yards for a touchdown to give the Patriots the lead.

NFL football operations chief Troy Vincent did clarify that while player safety is important, he doesn’t want players to worry about getting flagged or fined. “You gotta play,” Vincent said at the fall meetings. “You hope that no player is thinking about a rule. We want them to play [with a] free mind where you’re just free and you play.”

The NFL had given special importance to defenders for landing quarterbacks with all or most of their body weight, by stating that officials should penalize those. NFL officials threw 53 penalty flags for roughing the passer over the first six weeks of the season, which is more than the 38 in 2017 and 32 in 2016, ESPN reported.

Since then, roughing-the-passer calls are now down, after the competition committee clarified to game officials the techniques used and to pay attention to the plays. Vincent stated that the league didn’t advised officials to cut down on the calls, but rather educate and inform them that they need to make sure they watch closely.

“If you don’t see the complete play, don’t call it,” Vincent said. “That was a directive from the competition committee. That was always the point of emphasis but after the [conference] call and after watching the video, the committee and our coaches [said]: ‘If you don’t see the complete play, we ask that you leave the penalty in your pocket.'”

Safety is a big concern but adding penalties to what the league is seeing as a safety concern, may hinder the way a game is played. Football is a contact sport, and given the number of concussions, safety is important, so it is a step ahead to see the NFL tackle the issue head on. How it will affect the sport, if it does at all, remains to be unseen. Many may still be on the fence on whether the NFL has done enough so far to combat the growing concern, while others are not so thrilled with the changes being made to the sport. Read the full story from ESPN here.


Here’s how people on the Zip app are weighing in on this all over the country!

The NFL says it has held discussions with seven teams and did a targeted intervention on concussions. Do you think they’re making progress?

Totals
55% Definitely
45% Don’t see it
Males
53% Definitely
47% Don’t see it
Females
59% Definitely
41% Don’t see it

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NFL Tackles Concussion Issue on Team-By-Team Basis


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