Modern Helmets Contributing to Concussions as Much as Protecting

DETROIT MI - DECEMBER 12: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers leaves the field at halftime after leaving the game with a concussion while playing the Detroit Lions on December 12 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

With the increased awareness of concussions over the last several years, new helmets have been designed in an effort to reduce the concussions suffered by players that use them. But ever since the plastic shell has been around, players use the increased "protection" as a weapon to give harder hits.

"That's why we have to combine (better equipment) with rules changes, to take the head out of the game," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told [Fred Mitchell] Thursday ...

"You want them to be protected, but you don't want them to use the head."

It's not a new theory, broached here by such WCG luminaries as David Taylor, Lester Wiltfong, and myself, but it's one that other, more credible sources such as Mike Ditka and Ted Phillips subscribe to:

"I don't have an answer, but I know the helmet gives people no fear to strike with their head," Ditka said Wednesday night before accepting a Ring Lardner Award at the Union League Club for his work as an NFL analyst on ESPN.

"As a result, that's why people tackle with their head. Now the helmet I wore (in the '60s) was a little piece of plastic with foam rubber in it; it was nothing. I wasn't going to hit anybody with my head. You hit 'em with your forearm or your shoulder, you know. But not your head."

"Equipment is getting safer and manufacturers are always trying to improve," [Ted Phillips] said. "But players have to change the culture a little bit and how they tackle to prevent needless head injuries."

What do you think can be done to get players to stop using the head to make a hard hit?

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