NFL Safety Tech: The Data Behind the Helmet Rule w/ Joe Lemire from SportTechie

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Joe Lemire is a Senior Writer at SportTechie and he recently compiled a series of articles dedicated to NFL safety technology.  The first story of the four part series is titled "The Data Behind the Helmet Rule."

Those who do find the new helmet rule distasteful or see it as an attack on the sport of football are asking, Why?  Joe's extensive research for his article put's the question of Why? to rest.  The numbers don't lie and Joe gives us a behind the scenes look into why the helmet rule is only a snapshot of the work being done by the NFL to protect it's greatest assets, the players.

Joe and I spent some time discussing what went into the NFL's decision to implement the new rule despite unfavorable reactions from players, coaches and fans.  In this episode Joe tells us about his conversations with leading researchers from some of the top universities in the country as well as NFL players, top Executives from the NFL franchise and the NFL Players Association.

For a recap on this interview checkout “Joe Lemire Talks NFL Safety Technology on the Heads ‘N Tales Podcast.”

SportTechie is the world’s leading resource devoted to the burgeoning intersection of sports and technology. They cover the latest technological innovations, ideas, and products that impact the fan experience, player performance, and sports industry as a whole.  They report the cutting-edge developments with in-depth analysis and exclusive interviews to educate fans and industry experts alike. They exist to analyze and illuminate the growing number of ways technology is evolving sports.

Below you will find a list of topics Joe and I touch on throughout this episode:

SUMMARY OF THE "PLAY SMART. PLAY SAFE." INITIATIVE AND RESEARCH GRANTS.

EXPLANATION OF THE HELMET RULE.

"It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. This rule pertains to all players on the field, and to all areas of the field.

The Officiating Standards for Use of Helmet Rule:

  • Lowering the head (not to include bracing for contact)

  • Initiating contact with the helmet to any part of an opponent. Contact does not have to be to an opponent’s head or neck area — lowering the head and initiating contact to an opponent’s torso, hips, and lower body, is also a foul.

  • Making contact on an opponent (both offense and defense)

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Tennessee Titans linebacker Robert Spillane received a personal foul penalty for a violation of the new helmet rule for this head-lowered tackle of Packers receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling on August 9, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

THE DATA THAT LED TO THE HELMET RULE.

  • Concussion numbers

    • 46 % occurred after helmet-to-helmet compared to 36 % over previous 2 years.

    • Increase in the total number of concussions (291 last season).

      • The video analysis conducted for each of those concussions.

  • Lab testing performed by experts in biomechanics.

HOW THE RULE FAIRED IN THE PRE-SEASON.

  • 51 Penalties in the first 2 weeks, 20 in the last 2 weeks

COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE LEAGUE, UNION AND INDUSTRY EXPERTS.

  • Quoted in this article:

    • NFL COO,  Maryann Turcke

    • NFL EVP for Health & Safety, Jeff Miller

    • NFL Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Allen Sills

    • Former NFL QB, Tony Romo

    • Deputy Director of the University of Virginia's Center for Applied Biomechanics, Richard Kent

    • U. Va Biomechanics Lab Director, Jeff Crandall

    • NFLPA Medical Director, Dr. Thom Mayer

    • Director of Engineering for the Center for Injury research and Prevention at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Kristy Arbogast

    • Former NFL Kicker and analyst, Jay Feely

WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN PART TWO, THREE AND FOUR OF THIS SERIES?

A broader look at the Engineering Roadmap, Crowd Sourcing and Innovations in Data Collection

WHERE CAN YOU FIND MORE ARTICLES FROM SPORTTECHIE?

WHERE CAN YOU CONNECT WITH JOE ONLINE?

Download Episode: iTunes | Stitcher