Kickoffs are the most dangerous play in football, according to members of the NFL’s competition committee, who say their injury rates remain so high that the play could be eliminated altogether in the near future.
The league’s medical department offered up statistics at this week’s owners meeting in Orlando that show concussions are five times more likely to happen on kickoffs than on an average play, ESPN reports. Green Bay Packers president and competition committee member Mark Murphy says the rate has been unaffected by last year’s rule change that brought touchbacks to the 25-yard line. The committee’s aim will now be to make kickoffs safer or scrap it completely.
“We’ve reduced the number of returns, but we haven’t really done anything to make the play safer.” Murphy told reporters, “If you don’t make changes to make it safer, we’re going to do away with it,” Murphy continued. “It’s that serious. It’s by far the most dangerous play in the game.”
Murphy added the biggest frustration has been that concussions have continued piling up even on touchbacks where there is no kickoff return. He said the committee would be looking at what kinds of things can be done to ensure players are aware of when there’s not a return.