Head to head combat
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The footage of Dunta Robinson's helmet-to-helmet hit on Eagle DeSean Jackson is hard to watch. Both came away with concussions, Jackson's severe. Hardly worth the highlight reel. Coaches used to tell players to shake it off and get back in the game. New, stricter guidelines and an NFL concussion committee have stressed the importance of player health, but this weekend emphasized the need to impose further sanctions on dangerous tackling.
Sadly, despite the seriousness of head injuries, players are going to continue to make helmet-to-helmet contact until stiffer penalties are in place. These plays are so sensationalized that players head hunt in order to make the highlight reels. To players, this kind of recognition far outweighs the risk of fines.
Aaron Rodgers, Kevin Kolb, Stewart Bradley, Matt Moore, and Kevin Boss, are just a few of the many injured this season. More disturbing is the permanent damage inflicted on these players. It was recently discovered that wide receiver Chris Henry had suffered brain damage from multiple head injuries, which may have played a role in his untimely death. Multiple head injuries can also lead to depression, which may have led to Andre Waters, an Eagles DB, committing suicide in 2006. Possibly the most notable event this weekend came at the collegiate level, when Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was paralyzed Saturday after a hard hit during a kickoff return.
The NFL seems to be taking head injuries seriously. Imposing game suspensions for helmet-to-helmet tackles will encourage players, coaches, and owners to stress safe tackling. It sounds like that is coming, as the NFL just announced that players will be suspended for head-to-head contact even if it is their first offense. After an especially brutal week, this new policy can't come too soon. The NFL might consider implementing a program to educate players how to tackle as its next step.
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Posted by: ArmchairGM | October 19, 2010 3:14 AM
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