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Old 08-23-2008   #1
gtexan02
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Default Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

Im guessing this will not even be mentioned, but I am personally getting tired of seeing players suffer life threatening injuries during kick off and punts.

As players continue to get bigger and faster, you are seeing 300+ pound guys blocking guys running the 40 at 4.4. Those collisions are horrible to watch.

In the past year, I can think of at least 4 separate incidents when a serious, life threatening injury has occurred during a kick off.

I know football is sacred. And I know the kick offs and special teams are a part of the game. But something needs to be done. Some rule needs to be implemented.

A lot of these players are getting very lucky they aren't ending up paralyzed or worse. As they continue to get bigger and faster, that luck is going to run out.

What do you think should be done?
Maybe have a separate group of players for special teams? That way they can practice it over and over again? (Allow a subsequent increase in roster spots). This is the best I can think of. What about you?

Maybe Im overreacting, and maybe this is just a knee jerk reaction to watching Williams go down last night. Football is a physical, dangerous sport. But when people started getting seriously hurt in nascar, they changed the rules to keep it safer. Maybe the NFL should follow suit.
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Old 08-23-2008   #2
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

I think you make a good point about players getting bigger and faster, making returns more dangerous. However, I have no idea how to fix that other than limiting the size of individuals who play special teams or eliminating returns altogether. And I don't think either of those two will happen.
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Old 08-23-2008   #3
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

after Harry Williams went down last night, I got to thinking about it too.

what if the blockers on both teams lined up closer to one another so that the speed when they meet might be reduced a little? leave two guys back with the returner, and the rest would be on the line maybe 10 yards away from the kicking team.

meh...I was drinking and it's probably not feasible.
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Old 08-23-2008   #4
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

I think the tough thing is no one wants to mess with the game. The game works, and its worked for years and years. Its perfect as it is. But at the same time, we want to eliminate people having life threatening injuries. Thats why the gear has gotten so much better. It seems like there should be some solution that doesn't involve changing things too much
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Old 08-23-2008   #5
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

do nothing.. they know the risk. thats why they get paid
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Old 08-24-2008   #6
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

What happened to Williams can happen on any play, not just punts and kickoffs. Hard hits are just a part of the game, and players know the risks.

I hate to say there's not much that can be done, but it's just like pitchers getting hit with line drives in baseball. It's a brutal reality to the sports we enjoy watching.
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Old 08-24-2008   #7
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

If you look at the number of serious neck injuries in football over the past few years, it seems like many have occurred on kick offs.
Kevin Everett. Cedric Killings. Harry Williams. All on kick offs.
In 05 there was that Arena football player who died from a neck injury during a kick off.

When you have guys running 40 yards at full speed trying to bust up the wedge, and you have guys on the wedge trying to block guys running at them at full speed, bad things happen.

Obviously you can get hurt on every other play. A QB getting sacked, a running back being stuffed, a WR over the middle --- all potentially dangerous. But kick offs happen many times per game. Those other things are mostly avoidable.

I don't know. Obviously there is no easy solution. Maybe its because as Texans fans we've seen two outstanding special teamers basically end their careers while remaining lucky to walk after sustaining these brutal injuries.
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Old 08-24-2008   #8
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

For the most part, the injuries on special teams are a result of poor tackling form (putting your head down).

Harry Williams' injury. A fluke. Sometimes it happens. That's the risk these guys take.

Most teams lace their special teams units with inexperienced players. Some of these guys are offensive players & may not have enough practice with proper tackling technique.
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Old 08-24-2008   #9
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtexan02 View Post
I don't know. Obviously there is no easy solution.
There's not. They could push the kickoff back to the 35 yard line, giving kickers chance to put the ball out of the endzone. But, the league moved the kickoff back to the 30, because fans like returns.

Would mandatory neck rolls on kick returns help?



I don't know. I think equipment solutions might be the first thing looked at.
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Old 08-24-2008   #10
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
There's not. They could push the kickoff back to the 35 yard line, giving kickers chance to put the ball out of the endzone. But, the league moved the kickoff back to the 30, because fans like returns.

Would mandatory neck rolls on kick returns help?





I don't know. I think equipment solutions might be the first thing looked at.

Lucky,

You may find this medical article interesting (It is written in an easy to read form and nontechnical format). It tries to review the efficacy of the neck roll (which you illustrated),

the A-force collar,



and the cowboy collar



As the article concludes, these devices have some element of "helpfulness" under laboratory situations which may not/ do not translate into on the field real condition protection...........and certainly not full protection.
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Old 08-24-2008   #11
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

You know those really padded fat person outfits (to make you look fat)? Something like that, just for the return men on those plays, but you still gotta catch the ball. I know it sounds rediculous, but I'm half serious. Helmet would need to be padded a lot too. The neck thing above could be added also. We could watch them role for 20 yards after they get hit. "Hey, somebody help me up!" It would need to fit over their regular uniform and come on and off quickly. Drape it on and zip it up.

PS-Think of the size of the logo you could put on it.
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Old 08-24-2008   #12
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CloakNNNdagger View Post
You may find this medical article interesting (It is written in an easy to read form and nontechnical format).
Thanks! Anything easy to read is greatly appreciated.

From the article, more research and innovation needs to take place in protective equipment. It seems that the NFL, the NFLPA, and the NCAA have the $$$ and the necessity to make an impact in this area. Hopefully, additional neck injuries won't have to incur for these groups to find the motivation.
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Old 08-24-2008   #13
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
There's not. They could push the kickoff back to the 35 yard line, giving kickers chance to put the ball out of the endzone. But, the league moved the kickoff back to the 30, because fans like returns.

Would mandatory neck rolls on kick returns help?



I don't know. I think equipment solutions might be the first thing looked at.
Actually, this halo brace used for unstable cervical fractures is the only close to full protection device there is. Of course, can you see football players running down the field and making contact with those contraptions on their heads. It would be like 2 teenagers kissing with braces on.

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Old 08-24-2008   #14
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
There's not. They could push the kickoff back to the 35 yard line, giving kickers chance to put the ball out of the endzone. But, the league moved the kickoff back to the 30, because fans like returns.

Would mandatory neck rolls on kick returns help?



I don't know. I think equipment solutions might be the first thing looked at.
IF there is an answer, its going to be here. Equipment development.
When QBs were dropping like flies in the 60s & 70s, they started wearing "flak jackets". They've also started putting more padding inside helmets for concussion prevention. Maybe its time for a good hard, scientific look at what can be designed to limit neck and spinal injuries.
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Old 08-24-2008   #15
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Default Re: Kick offs and Punts -- What should be done?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CloakNNNdagger View Post
Lucky,

You may find this medical article interesting (It is written in an easy to read form and nontechnical format). It tries to review the efficacy of the neck roll (which you illustrated),
sez you!
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