As Reggie Bush aims for the NFL rushing title, one factor working in his favor is the sudden rash of concussions experienced by second-year tailback Daniel Thomas.
Thomas has had two concussions this year. Given that he plays a position that will expose him to as much contact as a giant magnet in an anvil factory, there could be more.
According to Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald, Thomas will be taking extra precautions as he returns to practice following his most recent brain injury. Per Beasley, Thomas will wear an oversized helmet aimed at minimizing brain trauma.
The specific mechanism has yet to be identified. In past years, players like Mark Kelso and Steve Wallace (pictured) wore foam caps over their helmets. This extra padding, which attaches to the outside of the helmet, provides further cushion against impact from other helmets or knees.
Most players avoid such devices because of their appearance. Moreover, no amount of padding on the inside or outside of a helmet will alter the impact a brain makes against the inside of the skull when the head suddenly stops moving.
Predictably, Thomas says he’s not concerned about the long-term risks of concussions. Few current football players are. Few former football players, however, aren’t. And that’s the delicate balance the NFL is now trying to strike, as it protects current players against themselves in the hopes of protecting the NFL against the former players they’ll inevitably become.