Blog Entry

NFL says concussions down 50 percent on kickoffs

Posted on: February 16, 2012 4:31 pm
 
The Panthers were second in touchdbacks in 2011. So that, um, Olindo Mare signing worked? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Prior to the 2011 NFL season, the league moved kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line in an effort to reduce the number of injuries on kickoff returns. The result, according to Hunt Batjer, the co-chair of NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee, was a positive one.

Quite positive, in fact: Batjer told Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune that after the change, concussions were down 50 percent from the previous year.

We just got the data recently," said Batjer, the co-chair of NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee and department chair of neurological surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "It looks to me like a decreased number of runbacks played a role. It did not affect a lot of the other injuries paradoxically."

This is a pretty logical conclusion to reach, if only because of the dramatic rise in touchbacks as a result of the rule change:

Year Kickoffs Touchbacks Toucback Percentage
2011
2,572 1,120 43.55
2010
2,539 416 16.38
2009
2,484 407 16.38

Yes, it is kind of crazy that 2009 and 2010 featured the exact same percentage of touchbacks. It's even crazier to see the kind of spike that we did in 2011: quite clearly the rule change was effective in limiting the amount of contact that return units had.

In 2009, the Cowboys led the league with 29 touchbacks. In 2010, Billy Cundiff and the Ravens led the league with a ridiculous 40. In 2011, 12 teams had 40 or more and only nine teams had less than 29 touchbacks.

It's an obvious effect of moving the ball forward five yards. An obvious effect of that is less contact, with the final obvious effect being less concussions.

The end result is that you shouldn't expect to see the NFL move kickoffs back to the 30-yard line any time soon.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Comments

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:11 pm
 

NFL says concussions down 50 percent on kickoffs

What a BS story.  There is a reason they used percentage instead of actual number of concussions.  It is because they are presenting the data in a light that will get them public support.  

I don't know what the numbers are, but there is a reason they didnt report them.  What if the concussions  went from 4 to 2.  Thats 50%.  However only 2 fewer concussions on a thousand less plays doesnt sound as good.  


We don't know the truth because the nfl is hiding it for some reason. 



Since: Feb 2, 2012
Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:31 pm
 

NFL says concussions down 50 percent on kickoffs

What kickoffs ? The league took them out of the game and damaged it Badly , although it gives us a couple of extra minutes to get back from the fridge



Since: Feb 2, 2012
Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:31 pm
 

NFL says concussions down 50 percent on kickoffs

What kickoffs ? The league took them out of the game and damaged it Badly , although it gives us a couple of extra minutes to get back from the fridge



Since: Aug 7, 2009
Posted on: February 17, 2012 5:48 pm
 

NFL says concussions down 50 percent on kickoffs

Taking away 33% of the game will do that.... Fail



Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2012 1:45 pm
 

NFL says concussions down 50 percent on kickoffs

Huh???  The above statistics show between 2500 and 2600 kickoffs for both 2010 and 2011.  And just below 2500 for 2009.



Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:31 pm
 

NFL says concussions down 50 percent on kickoffs

See some guys talking about the no contact rule after 5 yards.  Darn it! if the rule would be changed to ABSOLUTELY NO CONTACT, I would enjoy the game more.  I don't like all the hand checking and arm pulling.  It opens up the play to a judgement call.  If the rule was NO TOUCHING, nothing is in judgement.  Did the DB touch the WR? that is easy to see. Not did he twist his hip enough to impede the WR....  That's just dumb to have to judge at 4.3 40 speed by a 55 year old man.   



Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:21 pm
 

NFL says concussions down 50 percent on kickoffs

Besides kickoff returns occuring 80% less (made up number), ask Urlacher why concussions are down.....



Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:41 am
 

NFL says concussions down 50 percent on kickoffs

Just think what the percentage would be if you placed the ball on the twenty yard and forgo any kicking...0%.  Now, instead of punting the ball, we will assume the average kick goes 45 yards and the return is 5 yards...thus, place the ball 40 yards from the line of scrimmage...this would reduce concussions by another 50% on that particular play. I could go on but you get the idea...pro football will soon enter the area of flag football, but instead of two flags each player will have eight flags to protect.



Since: Dec 26, 2010
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:10 am
 

NFL says concussions down 50 percent on kickoffs

So can we say the NFL has learned to play the numbers game like the government does with the unemployment numbers.  when you stop giving unemployment to millions of americans the government comes out and says unemployment has dropped because less claims were filed.  Well duh if you take millions off the pay roll it will drop unemployment recipents,  but they use this to say the economy is getting better for your vote.  If you move the football up on KO naturally you will have more touchbacks simply because the ball is getting kicked out of the playing field.  And in return less concussions image that.  Our leaders are so smart it amazes me.  smoke and mirrors I say.



Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:31 am
 

NFL says concussions down 50 percent on kickoffs

DUH...you moved the ball up!


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com