The NFL is introducing a new helmet specifically designed for protecting quarterbacks from concussions suffered when they hit the ground, the league said on Thursday.
The NFL said helmet-to-ground impact accounts for about half of quarterback in-game concussions and last season Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa spent several weeks out after such an injury.
Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, told NFL.com that there had been a spike in quarterback concussions.
“This past year we had an increase in the number of quarterback concussions, and it was the same helmet-to-ground dynamic. Many people would say it’s because quarterbacks are scrambling more often, but we didn’t see that. It was still the quarterback in the pocket, getting hit and the head hitting the ground as they were holding on to the ball,” he said.
The NFL and the NFL Players Association conducted joint tests on the equipment and found the new design, which changes the way the helmet absorbs impact from the ground.
The league has several approved helmets that players and teams may choose from including previously released versions for defensive and offensive linemen.
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