New Rule Hopes to Prevent Concussions in Upcoming Football Season

Joshua Weiner, Senior Editior

Pictured above is Patriot’s safety Brandon Meriweather making head to head contact with another player.

The NFL has created a specific rule in an attempt to drastically reduce the number of head injuries throughout the league this season. American football has always been known as an aggressive and dangerous sport, where acquiring an injury or two is a common occurrence. Most recently, head injuries have become much more relevant in the football community as more and more research has been done on head trauma.

The new rule, listed as rule 12, section 2, article 8 in the NFL handbook has already had a major impact on the first half of this new NFL season. “It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.” reads the NFL handbook.

During last year’s NFL season before this rule was in effect, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a gruesome spinal injury on December 4th, 2017 where he was carted off the field. Many wondered if he would ever be able to walk again, let alone play football.  This injury like many others, caused the NFL to create this new rule in order to prevent more traumatic injuries.

Last year’s season saw a six-year high in concussions with a reported 281 occurring in practice, preseason, and the regular season. “We hope to drastically improve the protection and safety for our players here. This is an important issue for all of us in the NFL and we hope to create a much more safe and exciting time for everyone,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

If this rule is broken by players in a game, players can receive fines and suspensions from the league, making it even less likely that players will attempt to lower their head when going in for a tackle on another player.

Many more rules have been created to attempt to make the sport an even safer environment for the athletes that play it. Some of these rules have been met with backlash but are overall helping the league.