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Can The Incidences of Football Injuries Be Decreased?

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This past year the number of debilitating football injuries seems to have escalated. Or perhaps it is that the reporting of these incidences appears to be on the rise. The public has been made aware of the severe consequences of brutal hits on the gridiron. A number of former football players have made comments about this threat and the growing alarm of this dangerous situation.
Steve Young makes no secret of the fact that he sustained numerous concussions as a result of being hit hard on the football field and that these incidences ultimately lead to his retirement from the sport he so loved. More recently, former BYU player Austin Collie, who now plays for the Indianapolis Colts, has been the unfortunate recipient of several concussions, the lastest of which occurred in early December after a hard hit from Jacksonville linebacker, Daryl Smith. This was the second concussion sustained by Collie in less than six weeks, and according to some reports, possibly the third in seven weeks, an alarming number by any standards.
What, if anything can be done to curtail these potentially career -ending injuries? Some have suggested that increasing the number of eligible receivers would result in fewer tackles by extra large linemen or safety’s which would obviously lessen the chance of injury. Another suggestion has been to expand the area considered the “neutral zone” so that the players defending the quarterback would have time enough to get correctly positioned to ward off brutal blows. Another suggested expansion would be to widen the distance between the hash marks (currently 18 ½ feet) in order to open up the playing field and not have everybody bottled up in the middle where most of the action and most of the injuries occur. These and other ideas may be worthy of considering as ways to reduce the number of injuries that are occurring on fields throughout the country.

Nancy Smith is one of the owners of Robbinssports.com, an on-line retailer specializing in Football Jerseys and Portable Scoreboards