watch this, you'll think different about Concussions

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unbelievable! that's all I can say.. well, sad too.

It's sad, but it's not really news. Concussions, and particularly multiple concussions, shorten lives, and in some cases, ruin lives forever. That kid should never have been allowed to play. The coach and team doctors should have recognized that. They were irresponsible and are as much to blame for what happened to him as the guy who sat on his head. Why OSHA isn't involved in sports more is anybodies guess. If this happed in any other workplace there would be a formal investigation and likely large fines if they knowingly forced/allowed him to work/play while obviously suffering a concussion.

The issue in part is being attacked from the wrong perspective in any gridiron football for that matter. What is telling is that in rugby union without pads we have fewer of these injuries mind you. Does anyone in gridiron circles both to ask why when they think that players would be crazy to play without pads otherwise?

The problem is not the protection in football -- it is the very nature of some of these hits that are not only hazardous to player safety but also bad game strategy.

The approach taken now to remedy the situation is sort of like changing out guns from a .45 to a 9mm. To inflict serious damage size does not matter near as much as well as accuracy of the point of impact.

In gridiron football, please note I doubt much can be done to prevent too many more injuries on the lines of scrimmage between linemen and backs running the ball, as such collisions involve often such players lowering their heads whether blocking, running the ball, or tackling.

Great progress has been made in protecting the quarterback not only from blows to the head but also below the knees.

However, in both leagues, nothing has been done to protect standing receivers of the ball from hits about the shoulders of primary or even secondary impact from hits or tackles. Players off the ball are protected, but not those from blindside hits to the head who have the ball. Don't get me wrong I'm all for all hits under the shoulders, but not to the head.

In rugby union, just like practised though not mandated in the football of the days of prior to about the 1980s, tackling players with a wrap technique is mandated or penalised heavily for sake of player safety. Since the 1980s in football, more players especially in the defensive secondaries have come out of the high school and college ranks with poor tackling skills such that at the pro level, receivers are either bouncing off to gain more yardage after contact or getting clobbered and forced out of the game or several games. Either way it is just plain bad football though makes for choice highlights.

Not only are hits to such standing men unsafe at the core, but I can speak from personal experience in tackling that they are just plain bad strategy though make for more of those offencive highlights with screaming (typically American) sportscasters. Poor defence, a la the Colts in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl, does not a good pro offence make.

When a secondary player is forced to wrap to tackle a standing carrier of the ball at the shoulders or below, not only is this safer play for all players but also just plain good team defence at minimum.

At least if you wrap when you tackle, I can tell you that in the worst case usually you get a leg or a foot and then your mates can pile on instead of what happens normally nowadays when guys who can't tackle just try to go for the crack or pop.

The end result of such a rule prohibiting a high tackle or hit to a standing man is better defence and some better player safety for any standing players.

Though vital, improving merely protective equipment, as has been done with various commercial interests intact for the most part, over time since the 1980s has only increased the risk to more players due to unintentionally advocating the tackler to deliver an even harder blow to the player with the ball including to the head.

Believe me when you clock someone and you don't have pads on as I have done on many occasion and hopefully can enjoy doing again in Florida, at least you watch out more for yourself in delivering the blow than you would with all that padding on.

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Basically this rule change accomplishes most of what I advocated below and then some to protect players from needless concussions and head injuries that have nothing to do with sound defencive play or strategy.

See the other NFL rule changes on the site too, and go figure I agree with all of them! :rockin:

Geez did someone hear from me months ago or what? :stuck_out_tongue:

Gosh first health reform now this all in one week? Does it take the sun to come out in the Northeast for anything to get done in the US with these frenetic East Coasters? :stuck_out_tongue:

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High credit here goes to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who I read separately will be cracking down on players not using certain pads or inferior padding as well ...more details in the article referenced below:

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I don't see why Cohon would not take note of the matter to benefit from this NFL initiative as well to review any such issues for the CFL too.

Expect to see even more reports about CTE in the press as the research into the matter of player safety and the long-term effects of repeated blows to the head gets even more attention and funding. Apparently Chris Henry, whether the condition contributed to his insane act that led to his death or not, already had brain damage!

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It looks like the NFL has started its overdue 180 for sake of the matter of long-term risks of concussions in now taking proactive measures instead of as cited from three years ago remaining in denial:

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haha just want to clarify on your 9mm and .45 analogy... a .45 is not only bigger but also more accurate... just for next time maybe want to use 12 gauge and .45 haha

Bigger yes, more accurate it depends on so many other variables including the shooter but this is not yet another ammunition calibre debate forum … :stuck_out_tongue: … my choice is a .40 BTW …and yes all the same a 12 gauge would work all the same for the analogy below in place of the .45.

I am happy at these improvements made by the NFL via the rule changes and expect that many of the more recent ones to protect players from unnecessary blows to the head will be adopted in the CFL in similar fashion.

Otherwise both leagues use substantially the same equipment/ammunition now anyway. :slight_smile:

As I wrote separately today after reading the statements by an NFL executive on the matter of this past "Crash Sunday" in the NFL (my term):

Call me crazy for thinking yesterday in another e-mail that going this far would be going too far, but this is what an NFL executive said that is along these lines?

If it's an illegal hit under the rules, then you're going to be held accountable. We get the pushback all the time that, 'What's a defender to do?' Well, we, in these situations, have to say the defender has to adjust his target area. The player has to wrap up. He has to do the things more fundamentally that we used to do … when we used to tackle back in the day. We would like them to do more of that. But with the seriousness of the head and neck trauma and concussions generally, we've got a responsibility to just make sure that players understand and adapt.
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Basically that's about as close to the rules of tackling in rugby, with all hits requiring an attempt to wrap, as we've seen the NFL endorse. Of course all the same it's double talk by the executive, for what he says is the position of the NFL is not in the rules of the game.

So we have a moving target for a rule book now?

(Note also in rugby you have to be on your feet to tackle and all hits must be below the shoulders of the opponent, and in rugby you also have potential "sin-bins" [10-minute penalty] and expulsion via the yellow and red cards).

The NFL could only get so much more explicit than now to fall short of just saying, "We'll match the rules of tackling in rugby then."

The real problem that cannot be addressed in short time is the fact that most players nowadays back to at least high school do not know how to tackle also using fundamental techniques, as many are not being coached that way or are being told to do otherwise by guys who did not know how to tackle using fundamental techniques or have not practiced them in decades either.

How many players on defense tackle receivers as do the likes of Urlacher for example? The fundamentals of such tackling have not been the norm in the NFL for quite some time.

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12-year veteran offensive lineman Mark Schlereth is at least 98% right here with regard to the new rules and the NFL's hypocrisy. It was also indicting that they removed from sale the DVD shown as well as others as I had heard earlier this week.

Included in this link is the NFL's video on the matter. To me the matter is clear cut, and if this video does not make it clear for anyone, to keep it simple for you the #1 rule is that a tackler cannot use any part above the shoulders of a defenseless player as the point of aim. Note that a running back or receiver as ball carrier lowering their heads into a defender is not considered "defenseless" for example.

Basically these are the same as the rules of rugby minus the requirement to wrap for all you other rugby players out there:

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I made the point on local sports radio yesterday when I got on air that I don't buy, given I am only an amateur in experience in rugby and in football, that professional players cannot adjust to make safer hits yet like myself as merely an amateur in the past for either game or in the video still clobber a guy to make him think twice about coming near you for at least a bit.

Mark Carrier on air responded to cite the example shown by Ray Lewis who almost always shows proper technique yet hits harder than just about anyone in the league.

Great on the NFL to go on with this video and enforcement though negligently late to enforce rules on the books before season started. The NFL ought to have come out with a video like this before the season not just now to really make themselves look bad.

We'll see if any of this carries over to the CFL as though a different league, the equipment and nature of play when it comes to tackling is the same as are the risks of such unnecessary head and neck injuries including even years after players retire.

I have no doubt the NCAA, usually taking steps at safety before the NFL, adopts these rules next season if not sooner.

And we'll probably see a whole lot more Xenith helmets as one commenter posted about in a thread from a great article in the Globe and Mail a few days ago.

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The NFL came out today with this statement on player safety that apparently is long overdue.

Sometimes it seems like to me that Goodell’s NFL is hindsighting some inconsistent decisions with regard to player discipline.

This is not good, as such practices are along the lines of Stern’s NBA in that regard. Such inconsistency and double-talk hindsighting tarnishes the sport of the game for sake of the “entertainment value” a la the NBA especially.

But heck in only 3 months all this fuss won’t matter with no 2011 season on the line and right now no scheduled meetings to resolve the matter.

The ultimate question in that regard is if the NFL and players’ union will just wait until February after the Super Bowl to scramble to get things done, but even acting at that point to come to an agreement throws off a whole lot of other schedules related to the draft.

At the very least we’ll enjoy the next CFL season no matter what and in the event of an NFL lockout, at the very least also the ripple effect of the additional talent available to compete for CFL rosters. :slight_smile:

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Now we see the NFL, long hypocritical about player safety with regard to dangerous hits to the head, playing serious catch-up for sake of lawsuits by former players like this one.

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At 1:45 of these highlights, as well as on the funny kickoff romp by the slow lineman Dan Connolly with the loaf of bread, we see ample evidence of what I think are more widespread tackling skills amiss in gridiron football than is acknowledged. We see otherwise of course the great plays made by top defensive linebacking corps and secondaries especially, but aside from the stars and some starters, you really have to wonder.

Notice the clear lack of attempts to wrap on any tackles attempted, as any solid linebacker practices in live play as well and as was taught routinely in amateur football in the US until perhaps the 1980s in some places, such that now way too many otherwise talented players suck at basic tackling skills.

One symptom of this lack of tackling fundamentals for now decades indeed has been and still is this issue of players making regular and routine high contact to the helmet of players, which is penalised nowadays finally when said player is defenseless beyond only the mere quarterback and kickers and holders. One of the most grievous offenders who had to be forced to change only after severe financial penalties, and otherwise one of the best defensive players in the league, is none other than James Harrison of the Steelers.

Certainly in light of this additional evidence of the poor skills that are abundant out there these plays, as well as on many an otherwise exciting kick return for TD this season in the NFL, I applaud the new rules and changes back to promoting solid fundamentals for proper tackling.

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Like the matter of HGH on which supposedly the players' union and league agreed but for which testing has not been implemented, the concussion matter of years past is not going away and is festering in the courts.

Now 106 former players are party to lawsuits against the league.