At least once in a game a National Football League player absorbs an illegal hit to the head or neck that can potentially put not only his career at risk but more importantly his health. The NFL has been attempting to prevent such injuries over the past 4 years by targeting improper techniques and emphasizing penalties to hits that leave players vulnerable. However, an Associated Press review of the penalties meted out through the first 11 weeks of the current season discovered that those hits are still quite common.
Out of 549 penalties, 491 of those fell under the category of major infractions such as unnecessary roughness, unsportsmanlike conduct, face masks, roughing the passer as well as the quarterback. Of the 162 games this season, 156 were identified to have contact with the head and neck or an average of .982 per game. 38 were for head wrenching face masks while 25 for horse collars and 93 for direct hits to the head.