We saw up-close and personal this weekend what a concussion can do to a player. Both Marcus Trufant and John Carlson suffered serious concussions on Sunday after scary collisions in Chicago. There was nothing the rule book could've prevented, and nothing that warranted a penalty or reprimand in either play. Trufant was knocked unconscious after taking a knee to the helmet; Carlson was out cold after landing on his head. It's hits like these that emphasize the need for better technology, not just rules that discourage dangerous hits.
Football is not a contact sport: it's a collision sport. The human body is stretched to the limit repeatedly during a game as bodies collide with excruciating force. While the big hits draw the attention and the ire of the league office, even smaller collisions on the offensive and defensive line, can have serious consequences. Every single play, linemen are banging heads, resulting in small dings that build up over time.
Rules can only go so far in the NFL or any level of football -- and it's clear they've just about stretched as far as they can. Almost any contact with the helmet is flagged and violent hits are punished with hefty fines and the threat of suspension. We're at a point where the rules have reached their limit, yet still won't stop brains from being turned to mush or worse.
With players bigger, faster and stronger than ever, there's a need for greater helmet technology that reduces the likelihood of concussions in football. Education is still necessary -- beginning at the lowest levels of the sport -- but for players to truly be protected, the equipment has evolve, just as the game itself has.
That education, and advances in helmet technology that lessens the shock to the brain, would go a long way toward making the sport we enjoy so much safer for the players. Repeated concussions stay with players long after careers have ended, having an affect on their everyday life.
The price of researching and purchasing helmets that can help absorb some of the shock is a small price to pay for ensuring the safety of players like Carlson and Trufant, along with the many others injured after taking a blow to the head.