Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Kickoffs Too Dangerous?

An NFL rule change may be putting players’ health in extreme danger, Nick Sando argues.

The league moved back kickoffs to the 30-yard-line several years ago to facilitate more returns. The decision made sense for those who enjoy watching 22 grown men converging at full speed. It’s better yet if the guy carrying the football somehow breaks free.

With the heightened excitement comes heightened risk.

Two weeks after Buffalo lost Kevin Everett to a presumably career-ending neck injury during a kick return, Houston carted off Cedric Killings following another collision in the kick-return game.

Killings reportedly had feeling in his extremeties, a very good sign. And the league was surely happy to see four touchdowns on kick returns Sunday. But at what price?

There’s a huge problem with making sweeping conclusions based on two incidents without any controls. How many injuries have taken place since the rules change as compared to in previous seasons? What other variables (turf, equipment, player size, etc.) are at work?

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