Yesterday, the Ivy League announced a new, experimental rule to move kickoffs to the 40-yard line after researched showed that kickoff returns account for 23.4 percent of concussions during games despite representing only 5.8 percent of overall plays.
The new rule came about after Ivy League head football coaches recommended it, which was the result of the League’s comprehensive review of concussions across eight sports, both men and women’s.
In its press release, Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris stated, “Our data showed us that kickoffs result in a disproportionate number of concussions and this rule will allow us to assess whether limiting kickoff returns will reduce the incidence of concussions.”
The two most important words in that statement are, “our data,” because if the Ivy League has data, then every other league from youth football to the NFL surely must have similar data indicating when players are most likely to suffer head injuries. In March, the Ivy League announced it would eliminate full tackling at football practices, which Ken Belson of the New York Times wrote was “an extraordinary step.”
The progressive actions of the Ivy League are laudable. Will other football organizations follow?