NFL / football injury

Kicked To The Curb! Are We Seeing The Death Of The Kickoff?
I've written several times this year about some of the rule changes in the NFL that have made it more difficult to defend and has led to the offensive outburst that we saw this year. There have been some other changes that have been noticeable in the game as well. These changes have been made in relation to the kicking game. The changes have had a big impact in terms of player safety but at the same time, they have essentially rendered the Kickoff as obsolete. Source The rule changes in relation to kicking were made because of the high number of injuries that are incurred on the kickoff, especially concussions. The kickoff is a play that gets these athletes moving and colliding at very high speeds and that is a recipe for injuries. It was decided that something had to be done to make the kickoffs safer for the players. The changes made this year are as follows:The players on the kickoff team are no longer allowed to get a running start. In the past, they could line up on the 30-yard line and run up as the kicker approached the ball. Now, they must line up no more than 1 yard behind the ball so they basically start from a standing position. This change has decreased the rate of speed players achieve and therefore the collisions are not at such a high speed The receiving team must now have 8 of their players within 15 yards of the kickoff line and they must stay within their lanes. Essentially, teams can no longer wedge block. This makes it more difficult to spring free for big returns and acts as a deterrent for running the ball back.The returning player no longer has to take possession of the ball and take a knee for a touchback. In the past, there was always a window of opportunity for an error that could lead to extra hits and the kickoff team even scoring a TD. These mistakes could still be made once the ball has been brought out of the end zone but with the new rule, the ball is ruled dead for a touchback as soon as it touches the end zone. The player no longer has to make contact with the ball at all. This has led to a massive decrease in kicks even being fielded at all.The kicking team must have 5 players lined up on either side of the kicker. This prevents teams from loading up on one side, a strategy used primarily for onside kicks. This has led to a significant reduction in the number of onside kicks attempted. Source To sum things up, basically, the rule changes have made the kickoff obsolete. I agree that they are much safer and there has been a huge reduction in the number of injuries caused during kickoffs but I don't see that as being the changes in the way the kickoff is played. Rather, I see it as a result of the kickoff just not being played anymore. I have watched a lot of football this season and attended a game in Buffalo and it is very rare that you see a player bring one out of the end zone and attempt a return. If the ball reaches the end zone at all, the common pay is to let it go and take the touchback and get the ball at the 25-yard line. Furthermore, it is almost pointless for teams to even bother attempting an onside kick anymore and when they are rarely attempted, they have very little chance of being recovered. This is no longer allowed Source If I am being honest, I would have to say that kickoffs are a huge waste of time at this point. They were only moderately exciting before this year and now they are downright boring and a time killer. I really think we are at a point were the kickoff could be completely removed from the game and nobody would miss it at all. For years, people have been saying that there is really no need for the kickoff in the game for the little bit of potential excitement that we get but traditionalists have pushed to keep it around because it has been part of the game for such a long time. Source I would be perfectly ok with teams starting at the 25-yard line after a touchdown by the opposing team. Eliminate the kickoff all together and speed up the game. The one concern with adopting a no kickoff rule where teams automatically get the ball at the 25 is the loss of a teams opportunity to try an onside kick to get the ball back when trailing. There has been an option floated around that I heard about on the radio that would be very interesting from an excitement perspective and deal with the loss of the onside kick. The idea is that the team that just scored could choose to attempt one play from its own 30-yard line. If they are able to convert a 10-yard conversion for a first down on that one play, then they could keep possession of the ball and stay on offense. This would add some huge drama to a game and I can personally see it being attempted more often than an onside kick. My only concern would be that very strong teams would potentially have an advantage over teams with a weak defense. Even still, it would be a very risky play by any coach and one that could cost coaches jobs if they fail to often. Source Whatever they decide to do, I think removing the kickoff would be a good idea. New leagues like the AAFL are already planning to play without kickoffs and the response from fans has been positive. What are your thoughts on the kickoff? Do you think thye still have a place in the game or are they a waste of time? Would you like the 1st down attempt to get the ball back? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Full-Throated Defense of Football from PsuedoScience
I am writing this as a response to Kristyyd's post entitled "NFL and CTE - Is it Worth the Risk" Besides the horrible study quoted by her post and in many articles in the press, the attitude of sports fans that choose to be a victim bother me too. One of the reasons you let your kids play sports including football, boxing, karate or even soccer is so they won't grow up with the victim mentality. I was as disappointed with the comments to her post as I was to the post. I expect sports fans to know the truth and not allow that type of misappropriation of science on this forum. Some points I want to make with regards to whether it is worth the risk to let you child play football.Concussions do not equal CTE there are other factors including genetic disposition. While evidence suggests correlations between repeated head trauma (hits not concussions) and CTE there are too many variables to say any concussion regardless of severity or cause will lead to CTE or cause cognitive impairment. We have no understanding of all of the causes of CTE or the prevalence of CTE in the general population. CTE can only be diagnosed after death.Concussions are dangerous and every parent should know the signs of a possible concussion. This is true whether your kids play sports or not. But sports is a great vehicle to learn skills that make you a better human being and more successful in life.There is no evidence that playing football leads to impaired mental ability later in life.The study quoted is NOT A SCIENTIFIC STUDY. This is not an opinion and is not up for debate. When you see that study sighted as proof that football is dangerous or causes CTE you should disregard whatever article you are reading. Anyone with any sense of science knows by reading a description of the study that you cannot draw any conclusions from the results except that someone should figure out how to do a scientific study. I have listed several articles below. They all have something to say about the issue. The most important to me are the first by Merril Hoge and the next to last about a longitudinal study of high school football players in Wisconsin. Please inform yourself and if your child wants to play sport let them, any sport. If they want to play an instrument let them, any instrument. If they want to grow up a snowflake, take away the video game. Right now, football players ranging from high schoolers to ex-pros are living in fear of CTE because they read inflammatory, fact-free stories in the press or because they forget where they put their car keys. Some pros are quitting the game in their twenties and giving up years of potential earnings because they fear that playing will cost them their futures. Bad information comes at a high cost. We not only have to get the science right; we have to get the story right. Our kids, pro athletes, the great game of football and people who care about the truth deserve nothing less. It is more than just lifestyle issues. Boxers suffer more concussions than any sport, yet the CTE rate is the same or slightly less than NFL players or military personnel. Boxers also seem to lack the huge depression/suicide component that is so prevalent in hockey, military and NFL players. World wide the sport, Football (in america soccer) has a very high concussion rate yet paradoxically low rates of CTE and sequelae. In this cohort study using data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study among men graduating high school in Wisconsin in 1957, there was no statistically or clinically significant harmful association between playing football in high school and increased cognitive impairment or depression later in life, on average. Random samples and longitudinal studies that follow players over the course of their careers are needed to find out exactly what football does to the brain, Dr. McKee said. In the meantime, don’t believe media hype that football is a brain death sentence.