Football is a dangerous sport. Players across the nation of all ages and
levels of talent suffer injuries every day, from sprained ankles and pulled
muscles to serious concussions, torn ligaments and tendons, and shattered
bones. Fortunately, for the past several years, teams and leagues have
made conscious efforts to decrease the number of player concussions. During
the 2013 year, the NFL reported that the league saw a
drop in concussions by 13 percent.
During the preseason and regular season in 2013, a total of 228 players
got concussed. In 2012, by comparison, 261 players suffered concussions.
Helmet to helmet contact, responsible for 53 percent of concussions in
2012, was responsible for less than half of concussions in the 2013 season.
The NFL believes this improvement stems from a number of rule changes
enacted to protect players from injury. Striking another player with the
helmet can now be penalized, and intentionally striking another player
in the head with the helmet, known as targeting, can result in an ejection
from the game, The stiffer penalties and changes in culture – along
with a growing understanding of the dangers of concussions – have
led to positive adjustments that will hopefully continue.
Another potential method of protecting players from concussions has also
appeared on the scene:
head impact sensors. These devices can be used inside the helmet (and inside the mouth guard)
to measure the force from a blow to the head. Developers hope the sensors
can contribute to more sensitive safety engineering.
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Players, parents and doctors alike hope these positive signs signal a change
in football practices and safety culture, especially in light of studies
highlighting the danger of concussions, such as this one:New Study Highlights the Dreadful Reality of Concussions in College Football.