William Smith Jr
Blog Post 5
The NFL has widely been criticized for its concussion issues, as well as its other injury issues. Before the 2013 season began, there was the adoption of several new rules, two that involved tackling and collisions. The first rule being that running backs no longer could lower their head towards a defender when trying to break a tackle. The second rule was that tackling during preseason camp was eliminated. These rule changes were made in an effort to help decrease both the long-term and short-term negative effects on players. After all, there is life after football. The question these changes bring up, though, is whether football will be eventually comprised and will be reinvented as barely a contact sport.
First and foremost, I think Marc Tracy makes an interesting point. By eliminating tackling in the preseason, you are eliminating the practice of an essential fundamental for those on the defensive side of the ball. With this happening, you would expect defenders to be slightly sloppier than in past years when it comes to their technique.
A point made that I disagree with, is that running backs are disadvantaged. If a running back lowers his helmet, he is not only endangering another player for a possible head-to-head collision, but himself as well. That is a recipe for a concussion in the present, with possible brain and neck issues in the future. Several players have already found that head injuries don’t just go away all the time.
When you look at what these rule changes have done, they are shown to be quite beneficial. The number of concussions decreased from the 2012 league year to the 2013 league year. The decrease was pretty significant, as the number dropped overall by 13%. The downside to this rule, however is that knee injury numbers won’t see much movement with such a focus on head injuries.
So, there is obvious benefit to the rule changes. Is this turning football into a contact sport? My answer would be no. I go to 8 football games a year, and I see plenty of hard collisions that are safer than they have been in the past. These hits often will fire up a crowd and a team. While violent, they are part of the game and they know what they are signing up for. As long as tackling stays, I see no problem with rule changes to decrease injuries to our more sensitive areas, such as the head. As my dad always tells me,” your body often goes before your brain, keep that in mind”.