Doctors at Brain Injury Summit Applaud NFL Helmet-to-Helmet Rule

Last week, in response to increasing concerns about concussions among players, the NFL announced that it will now issue fines and suspensions for players who engage in vicious tackling and helmet-to-helmet hits. Recent medical research has suggested that repeated concussions could cause mild traumatic brain injury, which could have long-term adverse effects.

The Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center recently hosted a brain injury summit, and doctors and scientists across the conference expressed their approval of the NFL's new rules.

"Players will now think twice about lunging at another player or tackling with their head down or going at another player with their head down so as not to risk a helmet to helmet hit," said David Dodick, a neurology professor at the Mayo's Arizona facility, who directs Mayo's headache and concussion program.

Nevertheless, doctors and researchers think the change in policy needs to go farther. We need a cultural change in both amateur and professional sports that gives players with "invisible" sports injuries like concussions the confidence to call it quits when they've taken a hard hit.

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