Marquette researchers find NFL rule decreases concussions, increases lower-body injuries

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A recent study done by two Marquette University economics professors found the National Football League’s “Crown of the Helmet Rule” (CHR) reduces the probability of a concussion occurring among players by 32 percent.

However, the study by associate professors of economics Dr. Andrew Hanson and Dr. Nicholas Jolly also shows strong evidence that because the CHR forces players to alter the way they play, it has the unintended consequence of increasing lower-body injuries by as much as 34 percent.

Hanson and Jolly also found that the CHR has a significant cost associated with it.

“On net, comparing the benefits of reduced concussions, as well as head and neck injuries, the CHR is quite costly for players,” Hanson said. “We estimate the one-year cost from lost productivity due to games missed to be $27 million, while the long-term net cost to be $285 million.”

Hanson says the rule, which the NFL implemented after the 2012-13 season in response to litigation and an overall concern for worker safety, was well intentioned but ultimately harmful.

“What we are finding is that it is, on net, a negative thing,” he said. “The cost outweighs the benefits.”

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