Wednesday, December 5, 2012

One thing I can't understand about the NFL and head injuries

Sure, there's been a crack-down on hitting defenseless receivers, helmet-to-helmet contact, and hitting the QB above the shoulders. Hooray to all of that. But I have always found it interesting that the NFL with all of its uniform restrictions and "partnerships" with Nike, Reebok, or whomever makes all the teams' jerseys, has yet to come up with a standard helmet design for all players to use.

It seems that some players have adopted helmet technology that helps keep their heads safer and presumably helps prevent concussions. Even back in the day I remember Mark Kelso (shown on the right) having that extra padding thing on his helmet that made him look like a space alien.

If the NFL is so concerned about concussions and preventing them, why hasn't there been any league-wide mandate that all players wear the some sort of advanced protection helmet?

Does the technology not exist? Does the NFL not want to piss off Nike since they're in bed with Phil Knight for the jerseys? I guess the theory is that if you eradicate helmet-to-helmet hits (which by the way is impossible unless the NFL changes to a "touch" league) then who cares what type of helmet a guy is wearing. That thought would be short-sighted at best. Running backs and linemen have helmet-to-helmet contact on just about every play, that's not going to stop. So making all of the players wear an extra layer of protection or a helmet with some special space-aged padding makes sense to me.

I don't believe I've heard anyone on television ask the question of a standardized helmet for safety and I've been sitting back thinking about it for a while now. I'm sure someone has, maybe I just haven't heard it. And apparently, not enough people have heard it. Changing the protective headgear across the board seems like a nice compliment to the money-grabbing penalties, fines, suspensions, etc. The NFL says it wants to protect its players from these types of injuries but do they really? Or, do they just want to use fines, penalties, and a new concussion protocol to create the illusion that they care? I don't know the answer to that. My hope is that they do want to protect players but that they also realize that there are additional measures they can take. If the league can mandate that all players wear thigh and knee pads (or they are fined) and make all players adhere to other wardrobe rules on the field (ask Clinton Portis or DeAngelo Hall), then if they wanted to, they could find a company (I don't even care if it's Nike) that has some next-level protective technology in their helmet designs and mandate that all players wear them. My guess is that the players who think about tomorrow and next year are already taking some steps to protect themselves. It would be nice to see the league put something in-place across the board to protect all players.



1 comment:

Lance Coleman said...

Kelso look like he might tip over...