The debate about the overall safety of football and the safety of kickoffs in particular isn’t going anywhere, and a frightening injury on the very first play ESPN televised of Week 1 of the college football season illustrates that. The UCF-UConn game was the first Week 1 game to kick off on ESPN’s linear channels (on ESPNU; they were also airing Central Connecticut-Ball State and Kennesaw State-Georgia State on ESPN+, and they did show Prairie View A&M-Rice on ESPN+ and Wyoming-New Mexico State on ESPN2 in Week 0), and it began with a scary injury to UCF DB Aaron Robinson (who was on the kick coverage team). Here’s the initial play:
There doesn’t seem to be a replay of exactly what happened, but there were some suggestions on Twitter that Robinson collided with a teammate. After about 10 minutes, with the broadcast sticking with it the whole way, he was stretchered off:
Robinson reportedly did have some leg movement, and he was able to give a thumbs-up on his way off the field:
The 👍 from ARob. pic.twitter.com/psALuAFuyB
— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) August 30, 2018
But that’s still a frightening injury. And it may add to the discussion about further altering kickoffs, as the Ivy League has tried, or even eliminating them altogether. The NCAA has made some moves on kickoffs, including adding the ability to fair catch them and have it count as a touchback (new for this season), but there are still plenty of injuries that happen on these plays. And thanks to its position in the Week 1 lineup, this was a very high-profile example of that.