NFL injury data finds punts and kickoffs are disproportionately dangerous

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
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An examination of NFL injury data has found that punts and kickoffs cause more injuries, and more serious injuries, than other plays, and the league said today that it is concerned about that.

“Between the punt and the kickoff, there’s a disproportionate number of concussions occurring on only a couple plays,” said Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President overseeing Player Health and Safety.

And it’s not just concussions. The NFL also said there are more serious knee injuries, as well as more other lower-body injuries, per play on punts and kickoffs than on other kinds of plays. About 30 percent of all torn ACLs are on special teams plays, the league said, even though those represent only about 17 percent of all plays.

The league is now likely to look into ways to change the rules on punts and kickoffs to result in fewer high-speed collisions. The NFL has already started that, particularly on kickoffs, with rule changes that have resulted in more touchbacks. More change is likely on the way.

25 responses to “NFL injury data finds punts and kickoffs are disproportionately dangerous

  1. If we’re going to dance around this issue for years until we might as well bite the bullet. Give the team the ball on the opposite 20 and give 4 downs to get a 10 yards and repeat for 60 minutes. It’s a bad idea but it seems like that’s where we’re going might as well jump in the fast lane.

  2. I bet if all the punts and kickoffs happened in an 18th regular season game the league would still sign up for it…

  3. Tough one. On the one hand those are, or in the case of kick offs prior to the new rules, some of the most exciting plays in the game, but player safety is a major concern. And there are many players that their only real contribution to the team is on special teams. Hope they come up with something to help out but don’t kill another part of football that was actually exciting. At some point it just needs to be acknowledged that either you accept the injuries or just quit playing football. It is already barely recognizable.

  4. I have no idea why fans are disinterested in player safety. What’s worse than your team losing important player?

    Kickoffs and punts are extremely boring plays, and I am all for creative ideas to replace or improve them

  5. And if the NFL takes all this risk away they should take pay away accordingly!

    The players said for years that the reason they made this big money was because they could get a serious or career ending injury on any play, so take away the risk of those types of injuries and most of their pay should be taken away also!

    NFL if you keep on the path you’re currently on you will kill your Golden Goose!

    BTW these player know exactly what they’re signing up for and they still choose to play the game so you’re making something out of nothing, the players still go out and play.

  6. Lets just turn it into flag football. No one wants to watch these guys get paid millions for that. College football is getting more interesting.

  7. Just keep taking risk and reward out of football and we can eventually call it freeze tag. Can’t wait for sports to have hurt feelings for penalties

  8. Long past time to eliminate these dangerous plays. These men are literally conditioned since they are little kids to ignore injuries. An 8 year old playing Pop Warner is not capable of making informed consent on whether he wants to go back in the game, and neither is a 28 year old that has been saying “I’m fine coach” his whole life. These billionaire owners with the best medical science available to them can sacrifice a few plays to better protect the players that make them billionaire owners

  9. Perhaps avoiding punts was BB’s genius plan to allow the Bills to score TDs on every possession…

  10. Eliminating punts and kickoffs will then eliminate a number of roster spots on every team. If you don’t need coverage players and return blockers, the 53-man roster will probably drop by about 10 players. NFLPA will never go for that.

  11. We could implement the Ravens request from a couple of years ago that if the kickoff goes through the uprights it is worth one point but also add that if it lands in the end zone the receiving team gets a point. That would make the play still have some excitement with no risk.
    Make all punts have to be fair caught with one hand. that would keep that exciting while greatly reducing the collisions.


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