With the NFL and NCAA both facing concussion lawsuits from former players, player safety is a popular topic among football leagues, teams and coaches this year. The NFL, for example, has made new rules that many players and fans may not like: Players must wear more pads than ever before. Furthermore, running backs will face penalties for leading with their helmets. College football players will face similar changes. Players may be ejected from the game if they aim at another player's neck or head with an intent to injure the other player.
Earlier this week, NFL quarterback Michael Vick suffered a "pretty significant" concussion, in the words of Eagles coach Andy Reid. Despite Vick's importance to the team, he will apparently sit out next week's game to allow his brain time to recover instead of risking further damage.
The residual effects of mild traumatic brain injuries have received increasing scrutiny over the past few years. Perhaps in response to mounting criticism of football-related head injuries, the NFL gave a $30 million grant to the National Institute of Health this week. The money will fund a study of the long term effects of brain injuries.