Officials for the National Football League (NFL) aren't pulling any punches when it comes to cracking down on dangerous hits in pro games. Spurred by fear over the rate of concussions and debilitating brain injuries among its players, the league is trying hard to discourage athletes from potentially dangerous tackles and blocks.
Such hits include tackles where the helmet is lowered or helmet-to-helmet contact. While this round of enforcement included only fines, league officials have announced their willingness to suspend players for this sort of conduct on the field.
Elizabeth Baier, reporting for Minnesota Public Radio, reported that many doctors working in fields that work with head and brain injury applauded the decision to get tough on dangerous hits. In the past year, studies have shown that multiple concussions, or even just consistent contact, in sports like football and hockey can lead to disease-like degeneration and affect an individual's personality.
While the dangers of football and other contact sports have long been recognized, it's just now that doctors and scientists are really beginning to grasp the extent of the problem before them - at least in regards to head and brain injuries.
In the coming years, expect to see more restrictions and enforcement, as well as technology advancements, in both contact and even non-contact sports. As Baier points out, though sports like football get the most coverage, concussions are risk facing athletes in all sports.
- Mayo researchers applaud tougher concussion rules (Minnesota Public Radio)