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NFL injury data finds punts and kickoffs are disproportionately dangerous

Senior NFL writer Charles Robinson joins Brother From Another to talk about Lovie Smith reportedly being named head coach of the Houston Texans and whether the team is in love with Smith or just in like with him.

An examination of NFL injury data has found that punts and kickoffs cause more injuries, and more serious injuries, than other plays, and the league said today that it is concerned about that.

“Between the punt and the kickoff, there’s a disproportionate number of concussions occurring on only a couple plays,” said Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President overseeing Player Health and Safety.

And it’s not just concussions. The NFL also said there are more serious knee injuries, as well as more other lower-body injuries, per play on punts and kickoffs than on other kinds of plays. About 30 percent of all torn ACLs are on special teams plays, the league said, even though those represent only about 17 percent of all plays.

The league is now likely to look into ways to change the rules on punts and kickoffs to result in fewer high-speed collisions. The NFL has already started that, particularly on kickoffs, with rule changes that have resulted in more touchbacks. More change is likely on the way.