Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 7/7/13

OAKLAND, CA - 2005: Ryan Riddle of the Oakland Raiders poses for his 2005 NFL headshot at photo day in Oakland, California. (Photo by Getty Images)
If the NFL wants to take its concussion problem seriously, they may need to make some drastic changes. Helmet companies have tinkered with the design of the plastic helmet since the 1950s, but nothing revolutionary has come about since the downfall of helmets made of leather. One former NFL player suggests the league should go away from hard plastic helmets. This is more what a football helmet should be like. http://t.co/5NbDJ98bPL— Ryan Riddle (@Ryan_Riddle) July 07, 2013 That seems to make a lot of sense. It’s still fully padded, but players would be less likely to use their head as a weapon. There’s also less chance for whiplash. As long as the outer padding is hard enough, risks of the neck taking more of an impact are lessened. Ryan Riddle, who played with the Raiders, Jets, Falcons and Ravens and now writes for Bleacher Report, also suggests making a change to shoulder pads. @grantharrison91 @PFF_Sam Also got to soften up the shoulder pads. The combination would reduce concussions dramatically.— Ryan Riddle (@Ryan_Riddle) July 07, 2013 These ideas are at least worth testing. If drastic changes are not brought about, the sport may not be around in 50 years. Have a question for Doug Kyed? Send it to him via Twitter at @DougKyedNESN or send it here.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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