NFL Lost Helmet Rule Does Not Prevent Concussions

Le'Veon Bell
I decided to have another piece of Karen’s pumpkin pie, before I went to sleep on Thanksgiving. I turned on the TV and saw Le'Veon Bell for the first time. Le'Von Bell is an awesome running back. However, I only watched the Giants this year. Le'Veon Bell is a rookie who plays for Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Giants did not play the Steelers this season.

I watched the last two minutes of the game. Steelers were playing the Ravens. Steelers needed needed eight points to tie the game. Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger might not be a nice person, but he is a great passer. I wanted to see what Roethlisberger would do. Steelers seemed to score three touchdowns in the last minute, but two touchdowns were negated by the zebras. Heath Miller was ruled down at the one yard line. Le'Von Bell scored after absorbing an incredible hit from Jimmy Smith and Courtney Upshaw. I might have called a spearing penalty on the Ravens. Bell’s effort reminded me of O.J. Simpson. Bell was determined to score. Sadly, Bell and Smith seemed to have knocked each other out on the play.

I was surprised that Bell lost his touchdown, because his helmet was knocked off before he scored.

NFL Lost Helmet Rule

I never heard of this rule, so I looked it up. I found it under Rule 7 Ball in Play, Dead Ball, Scrimmage. In section two, the final example of “Dead Ball” is:

(r) when a runner’s helmet comes completely off.
Note: The game clock will not stop when this occurs, and the play clock will be reset to 40 seconds. Penalty enforcement following the play is as ordinary for fouls during runs or kicks.

How Does the Lost Helmet Rule Protect Players?

This rule does not protect players. I believe that the player in motion should keep running.

There are 22 men playing the game. One player lost his helmet. He will eventually stop running. However, he might suffer worse injuries if he stops running and absorbs the momentum of the player or players who are trying to tackle him.

NFL Concussions Revisited

leather football helmet, circa 1930
The last time I wrote about NFL concussions, Troy Vincent, the former President of the NFL Players Association, was unable to define “concussion.” I was unable to find any quotes from Domonique Foxworth, the current NFLPA President.

Do NFL Team Docs Ignore Concussions?

In 2003, rheumatologist Elliott Pellman, the team physician of the New York Jets, and former chairman of the NFL mild traumatic brain injury committee, sent Wayne Chrebet back into a close game, after Chrebet suffered a concussion. In 2012, Joe Torg, the team physician for the Philadelphia Eagles said:

I know of no football player who has had residual neurological impairment from repeated insults to the head

Dr. Torg’s statement was ridiculous. Later that year, the NFL paid $765 million to 18,000 retired players for concussion-related injuries.

NFL replaced Pellman and the mild traumatic brain injury committee with two neurologists and the Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee. The new committee’s brainstorm was to stop the progress of play when a player loses his helmet.

Football players are prime targets for concussions. Nevertheless, stopping plays, when players lose their helmet, will cause worse injuries.