An Associated Press review of penalties through the first 11 weeks of the NFL season finds that an average of nearly once a game, a player absorbs an illegal blow to the head or neck that could put his career at risk.
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Over the past four years, the NFL has toughened the rules in an attempt to prevent such blows. Yet the AP breakdown found those hits are still prevalent.
Of the 491 major infractions charted over the first 162 games of the season, the AP identified 156 involving contact with the head and neck – an average of .962 per game. Of those, 93 were for hits to the head. Quarterbacks and receivers shared the largest brunt of those hits, with the quarterbacks taking 40 and receivers taking 38.