Dr. Robert Cantu on the Ongoing Rule Changes in the NFL

Dr. Robert Cantu talks about how Commissioner Goodell and the NFL and taking aggressive action to make football safer by changing some of the rules like limiting full contact practices to only once per week and not in the off season.

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[Dr. Robert Cantu] Time-wise there was a rapid change in Commissioner Goodell's assessment or emphasis about head trauma in the National Football League prior to the Congressional hearings in 2009. There was a lot of denial that this was an important issue, and since then there's been a very aggressive effort on his part to have many rules changes taking the head— making it less the point of contact in the NFL, and many rules changes that have made the sport safer. And none better, quite frankly, than limiting the amount of head trauma that can occur in practice by limiting full-contact practices to less than once a week and none in the off-season. I think they're more proactive than any other professional sport. I think the changes continue. In the last year we've seen athletic trainers be put up in the spotters booth to spot trauma on the field and get those images to sideline personnel. We've seen changes with regard to moving up the kickoff so that there have been fewer concussions because there are fewer run backs of kickoffs—which is the most damaging play in all of the NFL. And we've seen most recently that a ball carrier can no longer lower his helmet and hit you with the top of the head. He can still hit you with a forehead, but he can't hit you with the crown of the helmet or that's a penalty. So they're continuing to be proactive, they're continuing to make sports safer.
Posted on BrainLine August 30, 2013.

About the author: Robert Cantu, MD

Robert Cantu, MD is chief of Neurosurgery Service, chairman Department of Surgery, and director of Sports Medicine, Emerson Hospital; clinical professor, Department of Neurosurgery, and co-director, Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, Boston University School of Medicine.

Dr. Robert Cantu

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