Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Epidemic of Concussions

I watched in disgust from a bar in Key West, Florida, as Austin Collie was being carted off the field.  Another vicious hit that left him lying motionless on the turf for about 10 minutes.  Fortunately, he was only diagnosed with a concussion.  Then, this story from ESPN, where three Pittsburgh Steelers were diagnosed with concussions from last nights game.  What is going on here? 

There could be several things at work here.  First, the incidence of concussions is about the same as it has been in years past.  I haven't seen or looked for data on this, but I'm sure it exists.  It's only the media attention that makes it seem more prevalent.  Second, there really are more concussions.  Third, the helmets are inadequate.

The helmets look different to me this year and I could swear I read somewhere where these are improved helmets to better prevent concussions.  I can't find the article.  If this is true, then I think the NFL need to reevaluate the new helmet because I don't think it is working better.  Or, it could be that players feel more protected and are more willing to take a shot with their helmet more often causing more concussions.

I'm sure there are folks at the NFL offices and the NFLPA looking at this type of thing.  The one constant that I continue to see from all of these hard hits and bodies laying motionless on the turf is that they are not tackles.  They are hits by human missiles.  I see heads lowered, arms at their sides, launching themselves into opposing players.  Sometimes, they hit their own player.  I've seen a few of those already this year as well.  I've said it a couple of times in previous posts.  Any attempt to "hit" an opposing player without any effort to put your arms forward and trying to wrap the opposing player up should be a penalty.  There should be an attempt to "tackle" the player, not turn him into a vegetable.

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