According to The Concussion Blog, through Week 12 of the NFL 127 concussionshead injuries had been diagnosed and reported. Every team in the league has had at least one player suffer a concussion, with Atlanta and Houston (1) the least affected, and the Raiders (9) hit hardest.
But while fines, rule changes and even game suspensions have been handed down to players leading with their helmets on defenseless offensive players, the numbers between offense and defense concussions are closer than most think.
Through Week 12, 70 offensive players have been diagnosed, compared with 57 defensive players.
Defensive backs have suffered the most concussions (32), followed by wide receivers (24), linebackers and running backs (15), running backs (14), tight ends (13), offensive linemen (12), defensive linemen (10), and lastly, quarterbacks (7).
It's no surprise that wide receivers and defensive backs lead the league in diagnosed concussions, as the game becomes faster and the passing game continues to take over.
And while many of the league's strict rule changes and overall culture change in how defenders attack offensive players are set to ensure the safety of the defenders, too, the numbers tell a story that offensive players can also pack a punch.
In an exclusive on OnMilwaukee.com, Jim Owczarski received an email statement from Greg Aiello, the NFL's senior vice president of public relations, saying "helmet-to-helmet contact between a runner and defender (especially in the open field) will be reviewed in the off-season by the Competition Committee."
A rule handed down by the NFL could follow suit of that which the NCAA has, stating that "No player shall target and initiate contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet. When in question, it is a foul." (Section 1. Personal Fouls, Article 3)
Owczarski interviewed several Green Bay Packers, who said most offensive players lower their head to protect their bodies and make contact with their shoulders, not to intentionally go after defenders.
Concerns over whether offensive players not being able to lower their heads would slow the game down, make players more timid to protect themselves and potentially result in more injuries not related to the head.
The concussion rules are sure to be changed, improved and changed again over the coming years, but adding the new wrinkle to offensive players being subject to personal foul penalties for hits on "defenseless defenders" or review from the NFL after the games would be a major change.
What are your thoughts on this potential move from the Competition Committee?
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