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NFL Says Concussions Down 50 Percent On Kickoffs

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 17: Coaches check up on Zack Follett #49 of the Detroit Lions after he was injured during a punt return during a game against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 17, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  Follett was taken off the field on a stretcher. The Giants defeated the Lions 28 - 20. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – OCTOBER 17: Coaches check up on Zack Follett #49 of the Detroit Lions after he was injured during a punt return during a game against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 17, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Follett was taken off the field on a stretcher. The Giants defeated the Lions 28 – 20. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

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Prior to the 2011 NFL season, the league moved kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line in an effort to reduce the number of injuries on kickoff returns. The result, according to Hunt Batjer, the co-chair of NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee, was a positive one.

Quite positive, in fact: Batjer told Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune that after the change, concussions were down 50 percent from the previous year.

We just got the data recently,” said Batjer, the co-chair of NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee and department chair of neurological surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “It looks to me like a decreased number of runbacks played a role. It did not affect a lot of the other injuries paradoxically.”

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