Former NFL offensive lineman Scott Peters is trying to cut down on concussions by teaching a different way to block.
USA Today reported Peters is teaching NFL Scouting Combine participants MMA-style techniques to keep the hands inside near their core instead of outside like a bench press. One of his pupils has been NFL prospect Corey Lemonier.
But Peters, who runs a non-profit organization called SAFE Football (Motto: “Save the Brain, Save the Game”), also wants to show Lemonier and others the way to a long, healthy career while proving the NFL doesn’t have to be turned into glorified flag football.
After suffering multiple concussions during his career, Peters teaches pro, college and youth football players to stop leading with their head and then coming through with the hands. He wants their hands to come through first.
“The misconception is that most of the concussions take place on the tackle. Fans see the ball and how the ball is pursued,” said Peters, a six-year NFL veteran who played seven games for the New York Giants in 2003. “The NFL has rules in place like the helmet-to-helmet rules that lead to big fines, but they don’t protect the guys in the trenches. They’re not penalizing or fining guys in the tackle box.”
The idea is to make players not use the crown of their helmets, especially in the trenches, and cut down on concussions in an area where few head injuries are noticed because of the controlled chaos after the ball is snapped.
Studies have shown even subconcussive hits — those smaller but repeat head-on collisions between linemen, linebackers and fullbacks — can lead to long-term brain disease.
“It’s hard to quantify the damage, but you can have about 50 of those collisions per game,” said Peters, who regularly consults with neurologists for his foundation. “Multiply that over a course of a season or career, they mount up.”
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor