NFL trying to cut down on concussions from helmet-to-helmet hits
The National Football League is trying to figure out how to make the game safer as it feels too many players are suffering concussions. League officials held a meeting with several concussion experts, doctors, and helmet manufacturers on Dec. 8th to discuss ways to make the game safer. The helmet makers shared their ideas on new types of helmets and the league had scientists evaluate each new helmet that was presented.
Doctors said they believe new, safer helmets should be able to improve player’s safety within the next decade. The said helmets have improved over the years, but they can still get better if the right type of technology is used.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL is trying to reduce injuries that are caused by helmet-to-helmet contact. A member of the NFL’s medical committee said the way of reducing the number of concussions and cutting down on those types of hits is to change the players’ behaviour on the field.
Goodell stated that the NFL’s new policy has helped because it’s stopped many players who had concussions from returning to action too soon. The league now requires a doctor to sign a form before allowing a player to return to action. Many doctors have said this has stopped a lot of players from returning before they were ready.
It was also suggested different types of protection requirements should be used by players of different positions. For example, a lineman and receiver might be better off by wearing different types of helmets that are specifically designed for their positions. However, the meeting committee was against the idea of an official league helmet.
At the moment, helmet-maker Riddell has a contract with the NFL to supply the league, but players can use helmets by other manufacturers but their logos can’t be shown on the field. The committee said they don’t know if Riddell makes the safest helmet or not, but using an official helmet gives the wrong signals.
During the get-together, helmet manufacturers introduced the idea of a helmet that has a softer shell on the outside. The thinking is that the helmet won’t cause as much damage during helmet-to-helmet contact. Goodell also talked about cutting down on the number of offseason training session that the league would allow. He said the league wants to expand its season from 16 to 18 games and thinks players should ease off during the offseason. However, the NFL and its players union are currently at loggerheads over several issues and a lockout for next season is a distinct possibility.