December 3 2009, 8:58 AM
The issue of concussions in the NFL is gaining steam by the week, as players have gone down with head injuries in at least one game every weekend. Now, the NFL has announced its most stringent rules to date, requiring players who show signs of concussion to be taken out of games or practice and barred from returning the same day, reports The New York Times. The announcement comes in the wake of Congressional hearings on whether the league does enough to protect players from head injuries and criticism that the NFL's plan to police itself on the issue is baloney. A firestorm also broke out around the co-chairman of the league's committee on concussions, who resigned the same day the league announced that players who sustain concussions could only return to play after consulting independent experts. It's becoming clearer that the brutal hits NFL players take to the head can have serious lasting impacts. That includes former players dying because of injuries that degraded their mental capacity. That particular demographic is featured in a poignant profile by 5280's Robert Sanchez, which details the life of former University of Colorado and pro football star Ted Johnson. Sports Illustrated's Ross Tucker, also a former NFL player, expressed his concern over the new rule on his Twitter account. He says players will hide or lie about their symptoms so they won't be held out of games and practice, making the rule difficult to enforce.