To Kick or Not to Kick, that is the still the question?

By Eric D.Graham BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: October 25, 2011

NORTH CAROLINA, (BASN)—Many football fans and coaches have voiced their disapproval with the new kick off rule impedimented in the NFL, which requires kicks to be booted from the 30 yard line instead of the 35, in order to reduce high speed collisions, concussions, and injuries.

With the new rule, some have even suggested that kick-offs be totally eliminated from the game of football all together. The elimination of kick-offs from football, unfortunately, would be like playing half-court basketball and trying to run a fast break.

That may be a poor analogy, but it makes sense.

Kick offs are instant game changers.

And the NFL definitely wouldn’t want to take away the touchdown potentiality of Chicago Bears’ kick returner Devin Hester from the game.

The impact of the new kick-off rule, however, has already changed the game on Sunday by producing three times as many touchbacks so far this season.

According to the statistics, 50% of the kickoffs compared to only 16% last year have resulted in touchbacks while only five have been returned for touchdowns, three which occurred in the first week.

Even though many athletes and fans are debating the current kick-off rule, it may be a good rule after reading a short and informative article titled “Football Fallout” by Alice Park in the Health & Science section of August 8th edition of Time Magazine, which stated “a growing number of retired players are turning up with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a form of dementia that can lead to Alzheimer’s.”

In a study that surveyed 513 retired NFL players, scientists found that 35% of them scored poorly enough on a test for Alzheimer’s symptoms to indicate dementia, which include memory loss, confusion, and difficulty concentrating.

With that said, why hasn’t college football imitated the new NFL kick-off rule?

This should be a no brainer for the NCAA if safety is the issue.

Consider the fact, that former Rutgers University defensive tackle Eric LeGrand fractured two of his vertebrae last Oct.16 on a kickoff return against Army.

LeGrand, who was paralyzed by the play, was given a 5% chance to regain full neurological function by doctors. But recently, he has made great progress in using his neck and shoulder muscles.