NFL Fines Players in Crackdown on Headhunting

The National Football League is signaling that it will get tougher with players for dangerous and flagrant hits on the field, particularly helmet-to-helmet blows to the head.

The league says that, beginning with this weekend’s games, unnecessarily dangerous hits will be cause for suspension, the Associated Press reports. The NFL also meted out unusually stiff fines to three players for violent hits this past weekend.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who the NFL labeled a repeat offender, was docked $75,000. New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson each were tagged for $50,000. Robinson launched himself head first into a tackle that left both him and another player, DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles, with concussions.

In all, at least five players Sunday and Monday left the field with concussions.

In an interview with the ESPN radio show Mike & Mike in the Morning, Ray Anderson, the NFL’s vice president of football operations, said that increasingly dangerous tackling techniques have contributed to the surge in head injuries. “The fundamentally old way of wrapping up and tackling seems to have faded away,” Anderson said.

The NFL’s actions follow increasing concern about medical research that has linked football players’ head injuries to debilitating, premature dementia later in life. As reported in GQ and The New Yorker, Andre Waters and Mike Webster are just two of the former stars whose retirement from the NFL was followed by a steep decline in a mental well-being that culminated in death at young ages.

In both cases, researchers have linked the mental health problems to brain injuries suffered while in the NFL. Concussions, and their consequences, also have emerged as a growing concern for competitors in youth sports leagues.

Related Posts:

NFL Steps Up Efforts to Warn Players about Head Injuries
NFL Players Flock to California for Workers’ Comp
Concussions Sending More Young Athletes to Emergency Rooms

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2 comments to “NFL Fines Players in Crackdown on Headhunting”

  1. kieran

    people who think hard hits should be banned are babies

  2. John

    When did the NFL begin caring about the players? They love these so “big hits.” It sells tickets. The game of football outlawed “spearing” many years ago. The game survived and thrived. The type of hits that are causing the serious injuries to players are obvious calls. They have been for many seasons. When you lock your head and shoulders and hit a player like a one piece missle it should result in ejection and a severe fine. Do it successively, and you lose games. Your never going to eliminate all of the helmet to helmet hits, but you can eliminate a lot of them. Players need to be held accountable for the skills they use during games. The NFL needs to look at its rules concerning running backs. The Harrison hit on Cribbs was just as dirty and violent. Hard hits are part of a violent game. Dirty play is not!

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