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Old 11-18-2019, 07:43 PM
Jackknifed Juggernaut is offline
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NFL: Helmet to Helmet Hits


If you’re a fan, you know that the league has been cracking down on these types of hits due to concussions, CTE, etc. Being a Steelers fan, I just witnessed my best WR leave a game with 2 HTH’s on the same hit, during the same play with another H2H on my QB! Dirty ass Cleveland team, but that’s a discussion for someplace else. My question is: why doesn’t the defender, or the deliverer of the hit, suffer the same trauma to the head and brain? Wouldn’t the force be equal to both brains? Why doesn’t the defender also go into concussion protocol?
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Old 11-18-2019, 07:55 PM
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The easy way to think of this is in terms of momentum. If the linebacker hits the qb and the linebacker continues in the same direction while the qb's head snaps back it is the qb's momentum changed direction while the line backer kept everything moving in the same direction just slower. That change in momentum is what does the damage. Same thing when a running back delivers a blow to a DB and changes his direction from running forward to falling backward. In some cases they stop or both deflect into a new direction and then the blow was delivered equally.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:30 PM
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The head snap is the most likely thing to correlate to a concussion. That said, defenders do get concussions from these collisions. In his first couple seasons, then-49ers safety Eric Reid lost time with at least two concussions due to careless, head-first tackling. He probably would have been fine if he actually led with his head, instead his head was more in the way and snapped sideways on contact with the runner's helmet.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:34 PM
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The short answer is that they often do. The issue isn't the impact, the issue is the sudden change in direction causing the brain to essentially slosh inside your skull. Also the issue can be the compression or the pinching of the spinal cord.

Stereotypically the defender is the attacker, he's prepared for the blow and is delivering it with the head/neck in a relatively strong position. He's the windshield, the offensive player is the bug. Because he's braced and delivering the blow his head for the most part goes in one direction and doesn't abruptly change direction. No concussion. The offensive player on the other hand is usually unprepared and the hit causes an abrupt change in direction, either moving to stopped or at a 90 degree angle. The head stops very fast and the brain doesn't, concussion.

Defenders however can get themselves into trouble when they play recklessly and throw their bodies around carelessly. Essentially initiating contact without being in a strong position, either because they are trying to keep their head to the side or they simply are leaving their feet out of control. In that case, the collision with a prepared offensive player or hitting a teammate, a knee or thigh causes their head to abruptly change direction due to a off-center blow.

The last scenario is the spine/neck compression. This is the one that causes the most trouble for defenders and is what has paralyzed multiple defensive players. When they deliver the blow with the crown of the helmet all the force is transferred to the spine and spinal column. There's no muscle or cartilage to absorb and distribute the force. In that case it's not a change in direction that causes the concussion, it's the direct compression. In the worst cases breaks their neck. Rarely does an offensive player suffer this kind of injury.

Last edited by Omniscient; 11-18-2019 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:56 PM
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I don't know the physics involved, and this isn't exactly a helmet-to-helmet thing, but in 2005 an Eagles safety tried to lay a hard hit on Cowboys WR Keyshawn Johnson and apparently didn't "do it right" and he was the one who got laid out flat on the ground by his own hit, while Johnson appeared unscathed. There must be a certain technique/science.
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Old 11-19-2019, 01:15 PM
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Ricardo Lockette was a WR for the Seahawks (the same guy who was targeted on the interception in SB 49 that sealed the game) and a ruthless gunner on special teams. He was crazy fast and would brutally punish receivers on kicks with hard hits.

That was his undoing on a play in Dallas, as he hit a guy on a punt return and concussed himself. He did such severe ligament damage to his neck (and was lucky he didn’t do more damage) that it ended his football career.

So yes, the people making such hits can and do hurt themselves. It’s not even rare.

ETA: Link to story, he could have died on the field in that hit.

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/r...hout-trainers/

Last edited by Atamasama; 11-19-2019 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 11-19-2019, 04:28 PM
Do Not Taunt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
Ricardo Lockette...he hit a guy on a punt return and concussed himself.
That's a weird way to put it. He was blindsided and knocked out.
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Old 11-19-2019, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
That's a weird way to put it. He was blindsided and knocked out.
You know you’re right, I misremembered the situation. He was involved in so many plays where he had controversial hits (unnecessary roughness was by far his most common penalty in his career) that I forgot that play was one where he was the recipient. The guy who hit him was penalized with a personal foul, by the way, but never fined.
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Old 11-19-2019, 07:52 PM
Jackknifed Juggernaut is offline
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Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
So yes, the people making such hits can and do hurt themselves. It’s not even rare....
Well yes, there are real examples of football players who have actually been paralyzed by leading with their heads. But I was talking specifically about concussions from helmet-to-helmet hits.

Good answers, everyone. Thanks.
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