NFL medics: Punts, not kickoffs, now most dangerous play
The NFL's efforts to curtail serious head injuries sustained during kickoff returns have proved successful, to the extent that the play is no longer the most dangerous in the game.
Punts have taken that distinction, NFL medical officials said Friday, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post.
Concussions stemming from kickoffs dropped from 20 in 2017 to 13 in 2018. Previously, concussion rates were five times higher on kickoffs than on any other play. The drop in head injuries coincides with rule changes made ahead of last season to make the kickoff safer.
The league will now look to do the same with punts, which accounted for 10 percent of injuries during the 2018 season, the league said, according to ESPN's Kevin Seifert.
One potential fix will be to redefine the language in the blindside block penalty, Seifert notes.