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Sunday, February 03, 2013

Salon: O’Hehir: Football’s death spiral

“Corroded by scandal and undermined by shocking new science, America’s killer sport may be nearing collapse” Not if “Dr. Death” Steve Williams has anything to say about thi…oh, wait.

If baseball is, or at least used to be, a languidly paced sport played on an asymmetrical greensward that recalls America’s agrarian past, football is an industrial product of the modern age. Confined to a precisely measured rectangle that mimics the electronic screen, football plays out in staccato bursts of violence, interrupted by commentary and meta-commentary, near-pornographic slow-motion replays and scantily clad young women selling you stuff.

...It’s admittedly difficult to imagine that possibility now. For at least 20 years, football has had unquestioned supremacy among America’s major spectator sports. If the process wasn’t quite complete by the time baseball committed near-suicide with the 1994 players’ strike and the ensuing “steroid era,” that pretty much settled matters. Beyond the obvious fact that football is more fun to watch from the sofa from the stadium, and brings people together on weekends when it’s too cold to spend time outdoors, various aspects of the game seemed to capture the ethos of 1990s and 2000s America on a symbolic level. At least at the pro level, football focuses on freakish excesses of size and speed (augmented by who knows what exotic chemical regimens), head-on collisions that rival a demolition derby, and overheated masculine melodrama surrounded by endless nattering. It’s like all the vulgarity, violence and excitement of American life served up in a colorful three-hour package on Sunday afternoon. With beer! No wonder people enjoy it so much.

...Just as the Church in America will never be the same after the sexual abuse scandals, America’s dominant sport will never reclaim the air of cartoonish, ‘roided-up unreality it had a few years ago, when no one in sports journalism knew how to spell “encephalopathy.” All the loudness and emptiness of the Super Bowl spectacle can’t conceal the aura of doubt around the future of the game, or the collective shock of our discovery that the endpoint of this gladiatorial combat is actual death. Football is a central ingredient in the American narrative of masculinity, and it’s also the zillion-dollar linchpin of network television. But in case you haven’t heard the news, both those institutions are in crisis. Is it hard to imagine America without football? Yeah, but it’s time to start. It’s a killing game, and we have to let it die.

Repoz Posted: February 03, 2013 at 10:54 AM | 212 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: football, really, sucks

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   101. esseff Posted: February 04, 2013 at 04:44 AM (#4361948)
I have this feeling, alas, that the only thing that will cause football to truly change for the safety of the players will be a death on the field. And not just a death, it'll have to be a death in the NFL or a big-time NCAA game.


oh, it's happened in the NFL, just not on a big hit.
   102. Greg K Posted: February 04, 2013 at 05:48 AM (#4361950)
Also, who's the Pele of lacrosse, exactly? The NASL was built on its ability to attract international stars. That was the catalyst for everything.

While I was in high school (1998-2002 or so) the captain of the Toronto Rock (which I believe won three lacrosse championships during that time), was a gym teacher at my school. I don't really follow lacrosse, so I'm in no position to judge, but he did win seven championships and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009, so I assume he was one of the better lacrosse players in the world. If he couldm't make enough money to play the sport as his sole source of income that's probably a bad sign.
   103. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: February 04, 2013 at 06:45 AM (#4361953)
10] Leaning no, but it's far from decided. If you were to look at my boy, you'd say he looked like a fullback--massive thighs, big torso...and he's faster than any kid he's played against in flag football, soccer, or baseball so far. He loves playing football, and he's racked up >50 touchdowns in ~25 games. He lives for getting a pick-6. Obviously, physiques and physical ability change, but assuming things hold...if boys like my son don't play high school football, I don't know how schools will even field teams.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Of course we are now in the age of the super-protective helicopter parent, so I can see teams in better school districts having trouble fielding teams with parents pulling their kids out. It might result in football skewing even more towards minority and poor if that's possible.

   104. John Northey Posted: February 04, 2013 at 07:37 AM (#4361957)
I get a sad laugh out of how Ray Lewis is viewed in articles today. Future HOF'er, great player, isn't it great he won a Super Bowl, blah blah blah... oh, and he was accused of using a banned substance but denied it thus it is a 'sideshow' and quickly put to bed with a single line.
Days earlier, Lewis was confronted about his use of deer antler spray in his effort to return from the triceps injury. He vehemently denied trying the banned substance, and that sideshow fizzled out quickly enough so that it was not a distraction on Sunday.

Imagine the same thing in a World Series... oh wait, we don't have to - Cabrera was kept out of the World Series by his own team due to use of banned substances and it was mentioned more often than Lewis' "distraction" was.
   105. Bug Selig Posted: February 04, 2013 at 08:36 AM (#4361963)
10. Yes. He is a high school junior and is in the process of choosing which Ivy or Service Academy he will attend after next year, with the intent of playing football there as well. I also let him travel by car, cross the street wothout a helmet, and sometimes spend time alone with girls.
   106. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 04, 2013 at 09:22 AM (#4361971)
10. Yes. He is a high school junior and is in the process of choosing which Ivy or Service Academy he will attend after next year, with the intent of playing football there as well. I also let him travel by car, cross the street wothout a helmet, and sometimes spend time alone with girls


The future will need medical specimens too, I guess.
   107. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 09:25 AM (#4361974)
What a gay article. But it's Salon, so what can you expect.


So what you're saying is that while reading an article about the bodies of male athletes, your mind immediately went to dude-on-dude buttsex, but Salon's the gay one?

Fascinating.
   108. Dale Sams Posted: February 04, 2013 at 09:54 AM (#4361985)
Did you all link the Le Batard article from yesterday yet? I lost my appetite just skimming through it.
   109. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: February 04, 2013 at 09:58 AM (#4361987)
10. yes I would, and do. Both my kids play, my son 13, and my daughter 10. I didn't want to at first, but my son is so into it, it's something to behold. Optional conditioning drills in August in south Florida? He gets pissed when we have to miss one. This past fall both my kids were on the same team, as my 10 year old daughter outgrew the 9-10 year old team. She's the only girl in the league. Yes I'm aware of the risks and hazards, as my son broke his arm in practice 2 years ago and missed half the season.

My kids play other sports as well, my son baseball and tennis, and my daughter, competitive swimming. I'm hoping football is just a passing fancy for them, for my daughter it certainly is. She'll have one more year on the 11-12 year old team, but if she has to move up when she's 12, she will be done. We're not going to let he compete against 15 year old boys as a 12 year old.

It's remarkable how football has helped their other sports. The conditioning and training discipline really carries over. My daughter no longer complains about swimming 50+ laps at practice. He technique is still quite rough, but because of her strength and conditioning, she is still competitive. This past weekend at a large meet, she took a first and a second in 7 events, and she qualified for 2 events at the regional championships in March. My son is a much better baseball player now. 2 years ago he couldn't throw for ####, and now he throws one hop strikes from the CF wall. He is a very fine football player though, and I'll let him go with what he wants.
   110. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 04, 2013 at 09:59 AM (#4361988)
Yeah, the Le Batard piece is linked off of the Newsblog. It's the final straw in "why I didn't watch a minute of the Superbowl."
   111. Dale Sams Posted: February 04, 2013 at 10:13 AM (#4361991)
Oh wait...that's a diff La Batard article...here's the one I was referring too.
   112. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 04, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4361992)
Yeah, I read both.
   113. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: February 04, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4362000)
Didn't your daughter get hit by a foul ball when she was an infant?

Her brother, yes. That's likely why she's not allowed to play and a big part of their mom and I are splitting. So, I understand but still...
   114. SandyRiver Posted: February 04, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4362001)
Lacrosse is a sport targeted to rich, northeastern white kids. There's a reason football draws its athletes from predominantly lower class, black families. It's the same reason the front lines of the military is populated by poor kids.

When I became acquainted with lacrosse (mid-60s, at Johns Hopkins), the sport was mostly a curiosity in the US except for two major hotbeds, Long Island and the Baltimore metro. A lot of top HS lacrosse players came from rich white prep schools, but not all, even back then. Hopkins then and now fields lacrosse teams that compete for the national title, so their coaches see lots of topflight players, but when I was at JHU it was an essentially unanimous opinion that the best-ever college player was a fellow from Syracuse named Jim Browm.

Probably if lacrosse were a lucrative pro sport, it would draw more from the lower income levels, as a potential road out of poverty. I don't see that happening, whatever the future holds for football.

Edit: I'd have said "yes" to #10, but my decision time was about 25 years ago, and my son had no interest at all in sports. I enjoyed HS and a bit of college football, even got to play one game (my and his final HS contest) against a future NFL star, Jim Kiick, who had some fine seasons as a Dolphins RB. Unfortunatley for my bragging rights, their offense scheme had him running always to our defensive left and I was right DT with "stay at home" responsibility, for counters and reverses, so we never "met" on the field.
   115. Dan Posted: February 04, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4362009)
Good lord that Le Batard article was nauseating.
   116. BDC Posted: February 04, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4362020)
football draws its athletes from predominantly lower class, black families

Again, how true is this? An article by Huffman & Cooper (Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 2012, 5, 225-246) does say:

The majority of football student-athletes competing in FBS institutions are minorities
who come from low socio-economic backgrounds


They're citing previous scholarship there, without analysis. Meanwhile the NCAA website says that

In the Football Championship Subdivision, the 2010-11 figures show that white players compose the majority at 47.2 percent (down from 47.6 the previous year), followed by Blacks at 44.1 percent (up from 43.9). The percentage of black football players in that subdivision has steadily increased from 38.5 percent in 1999-2000 to the current level


A paper prepared for the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (Lapchick, 2011: PDF file!) says of the NFL:

The percentage of white players increased slightly from 30 percent in 2009 to 31 percent in 2010,
while the percentage of African-American players remained at 67 percent.


Clearly the percentage of black college football players undergoes a kind of amplification in the NFL, and one might believe from just watching pro games that since 2/3 of the players are black, they must also be from poor backgrounds; but socioeconomic data are not very easy to come by.
   117. GregD Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4362031)
How big an impact will this article on suspicions of wide-spreading match fixing have on soccer? I know the allegations cover different levels and there's no specificity of how many at which level, but if it's really 400+ individuals fixing 600+ games, I would think that's a pretty big blow to the credibility of the sport's leagues.
   118. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4362039)
I would not let my son play football. My wife is adamantly against it.

However, she wants him to play soccer. Aren't there a lot of concussions in soccer too?
   119. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:23 AM (#4362051)
However, she wants him to play soccer. Aren't there a lot of concussions in soccer too?


Many youth leagues prohibit headers specifically because of the mild concussion problem. Soccer is less of a contact sport, obviously, but I'd definitely look for a no-headers league for anyone younger than high school.
   120. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4362054)
Clearly the percentage of black college football players undergoes a kind of amplification in the NFL, and one might believe from just watching pro games that since 2/3 of the players are black, they must also be from poor backgrounds; but socioeconomic data are not very easy to come by.

The other amplification is that a disproportionate percentage of the blacks in the NFL outside of the quarterbacks and kickers are stars and starters. Just off the top of my head, I'm pretty sure that when they flashed the pictures of the 44 starters last night, about 37 of them were black, including the entire Ravens defensive unit and 10 of the 11 49ers.
   121. winnipegwhip Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4362055)
My son has played football for 4 years (started at age 8). This past year I have come to the conclusion that with the increased concern of head injuries it is best not to play until high school if he wishes to continue. Football is a sport which someone can start up in later years and do well if you apply yourself and have the physical attributes. Like Ron Polk said about coaching football, "The first day you teach them how to block. The second day you teach them who to block."

My suggestion for youth football is that kids be allowed to move up in levels if they are excessively larger then other kids in their group. Just because he is a 10 year old and he is a beast compared to everyone else why not challenge him by playing with his physical peers. It is good for him challenge wise and best for the smaller players who don't have to play against a beast and risk injury. It would be like a weight class in martial arts or boxing.
   122. SoSH U at work Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4362075)
My suggestion for youth football is that kids be allowed to move up in levels if they are excessively larger then other kids in their group. Just because he is a 10 year old and he is a beast compared to everyone else why not challenge him by playing with his physical peers. It is good for him challenge wise and best for the smaller players who don't have to play against a beast and risk injury. It would be like a weight class in martial arts or boxing.


I broke my collar bone my first year in football, when my 65-pound self got crushed by two 150-pound linemen. I'm on board with this position.

   123. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4362085)
My suggestion for youth football is that kids be allowed to move up in levels if they are excessively larger then other kids in their group.


As I alluded to in my previous post, that's how my league operates. Last fall my daughter was 10, but she had to play in the 11-12 year old league because of her size. The league has a weight limit based on age. Basically, the older you are, the lower your weight limit for the age group. It forces bigger kids to move up, but not if they are age inappropriate. A 9 year old at the exact weight as my daughter would not have had to move up. They also have weight limits for ball carriers. For example, based on your age, you may play with no restriction up to 95 pounds. Between 95 and 105 you may play in the lower league, but you may not carry the ball (ie no QB, RB, or receiver. You may of course intercept or recover fumbles). Over 105 you must move up. All players are weighed in before every game. If you don't make weight, you may be restricted or cannot play at all.
   124. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:51 AM (#4362088)
My suggestion for youth football is that kids be allowed to move up in levels if they are excessively larger then other kids in their group. Just because he is a 10 year old and he is a beast compared to everyone else why not challenge him by playing with his physical peers. It is good for him challenge wise and best for the smaller players who don't have to play against a beast and risk injury. It would be like a weight class in martial arts or boxing.

I'm pretty sure it's standard that leagues have size limits on who can play in an age group and/or size limits on who is allowed to carry a football.

I was too small to play football as a youth (though now I'm 6'2" 185 lbs.) so I got into other sports. Therefore I have no specific knowledge of how my local leagues worked.
   125. zack Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4362129)
While I was in high school (1998-2002 or so) the captain of the Toronto Rock (which I believe won three lacrosse championships during that time), was a gym teacher at my school. I don't really follow lacrosse, so I'm in no position to judge, but he did win seven championships and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009, so I assume he was one of the better lacrosse players in the world. If he couldm't make enough money to play the sport as his sole source of income that's probably a bad sign.

I'm not a Lacrosse fan, but I watch the occasional game (mostly NCAA and NLL (box), the professional field game isn't as interesting to me). I believe what you said about salaries is still true, the vast majority of players have other jobs, many of them are teachers so they have summers off. Many players play in both the NLL (field, summer) and MLL (indoor, winter), although there are box specialists.

Lacrosse is a sport targeted to rich, northeastern white kids.

Well that and native american and first nations kids. One of the cool things about the Lacrosse World Cup is that the Iroquois have their own team, separate from the US and Canadian teams. The aforementioned Syracuse team is usually stacked with Iroquois players.

Maryland and Long Island are still the centers of US lacrosse, but Upstate New York, Colorado and I think Massachusetts are also hotbeds. In the Western New York (public) high school I went to, Lacrosse was the glamor sport, not football or basketball. Canada is the world power.
   126. jobu Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4362144)
I would not let my son play football. My wife is adamantly against it.

However, she wants him to play soccer. Aren't there a lot of concussions in soccer too?

I do not know how old your son is. I presume that because soccer is something he is not playing yet, he is quite young.

All the points about header-free leagues are well-taken.

More generally, though, I would say that there is some injury risk with all sports, but I don't see a lot of risk with beginning soccer, before the game gets very physical.

Moreover, I think there are so many positives in terms of socialization, teaching team skills, etc. My boys are both at young ages where the kids at school all still like each other--there aren't yet the cliques that we will no doubt see. At the same time, you can definitely already see a difference between the kids who have played team sports vs. the ones who haven't. The kids who played team sports are more comfortable around other kids, and more confident around adults. They get invited to do more stuff than the kids who have done no sports or who have done only individual sports like martial arts--not because the team sports kids are cooler, but from the mere fact that people get to know them.

Basically, it's like that Nike commercial about letting girls play team sports, but applied to young boys. There are just tons of benefits. And if not soccer, then what? Baseball (beaning, injuries running the bases), basketball (wreck a knee)? Hockey? Football?
   127. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4362146)
I live in Kansas City, and I am starting to see lacrosse player practice at the park near our home all the time. I'm guessing availability of scholarships is driving this?
   128. JJ1986 Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4362152)
when they flashed the pictures of the 44 starters last night, about 37 of them were black, including the entire Ravens defensive unit and 10 of the 11 49ers.


I don't think Isaac Sopoaga and Haloti Ngata are black.
   129. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4362158)
Sports injury statistics:

Baseball also has the highest fatality rate among sports for children ages 5 to 14, with three to four children dying from baseball injuries each year.
   130. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:57 PM (#4362167)
From my limited reading of CTE articles, most of the guys seem to be those who have played 20+ years of football. A "study" of self-selected population of long-career NFLers who have behavioral problems and finding they all have CTE doesn't convince me. Letting your kid play in high school doesn't seem crazily more dangerous than other sports, and I would let my son play. Go ahead and tell me I'm stupid and a monster.
   131. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4362178)
Go ahead and tell me I'm stupid and a monster.

OK, if you insist. You're stupid and a monster and should have your kids taken away. And Mike Crudale.
   132. Dale Sams Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4362181)
All the points about header-free leagues are well-taken.


That's a pity about headers. In my experience, it's often a neglected craft. I've known people playing at fairly high levels whose instinct on scoring chances is to bring the ball down with their chest and take a shot, when a header would work just fine.
   133. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4362186)
when they flashed the pictures of the 44 starters last night, about 37 of them were black, including the entire Ravens defensive unit and 10 of the 11 49ers.

I don't think Isaac Sopoaga and Haloti Ngata are black.


You're right. I was just flashing on my memory of the pictures, not the names, and making a binary distinction. They "look" more black than white, but they don't fall into either of those categories if you're talking about European Americans or African Americans.

So amend that to saying that 35 of the 44 starters were black. That's still a much higher percentage than the overall percentage of blacks in the NFL.
   134. Ron J2 Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4362188)
#102 When I was in school any number of the local CFL teams were teaching school. The practice schedule had to be very flexible since the starting QB (Russ Jackson) was a vice-principal and the job often entailed early and/or late work hours.

He retired in part because he afraid that his football career was impacting his career path. And we're talking the MVP of the league.
   135. BDC Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4362190)
"Positional segregation" in the NFL is also notorious, of course. We wonder here from time to time what happened to all the African-American pitchers and catchers, but here's some demographic data on NFL players by position. No kickers listed, but as you'd expect, white NFLers congregate at quarterback and in the offensive line (including tight end). There's no "natural" explanation for any of this, obviously: in segregation times, as in baseball, kids of each color played every position just fine.
   136. bunyon Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4362198)
My suggestion for youth football is that kids be allowed to move up in levels if they are excessively larger then other kids in their group. Just because he is a 10 year old and he is a beast compared to everyone else why not challenge him by playing with his physical peers. It is good for him challenge wise and best for the smaller players who don't have to play against a beast and risk injury. It would be like a weight class in martial arts or boxing.

I don't necessarily disagree but there are developmental issues as well. I have always been big for my age and at a younger age was massively so. I started in wrestling at age 8 but, based on weight, was wrestling 13 and 14 year olds. And getting my ass handed to me every time. I simply didn't have the physical strength or coordination that a kid 5 years older did. I'm not sure what the best answer is: clearly me mashing smaller kids my age wouldn't have done anyone any good, either. My only point is that physical size at different ages isn't the only factor that should be considered.


To 10: a reluctant yes. I'd rather they played baseball, basketball or soccer but I think playing team sports - provided a reasonable quality of instruction and discipline - is a big net positive for people. And all sports carry risk of injury and very small risk of very serious injury. As does living. It would take a lot of data to convince me that the long term prognosis of a kid who plays football through high school is significantly worse than those that don't. If my son were good enough to play in college or the NFL, I'd have a long conversation with him about the risks and hope he'd find something else to do. But, hell, he'd probably go be a race car driver or pilot or miner...you get the idea. Life carries risk. I don't think there is a lot of risk with football at a young age when it is the parent making the decisions and adults get to take their own risks. Simply saying "no" without a LOT more data isn't warranted, in my opinion.
   137. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:18 PM (#4362203)
From my limited reading of CTE articles, most of the guys seem to be those who have played 20+ years of football. A "study" of self-selected population of long-career NFLers who have behavioral problems and finding they all have CTE doesn't convince me. Letting your kid play in high school doesn't seem crazily more dangerous than other sports, and I would let my son play. Go ahead and tell me I'm stupid and a monster.

Chris Henry had it when he died at 26. Owen Thomas (?), ex Penn LB, had it when he died at 21 or 22.
   138. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4362218)

From my limited reading of CTE articles, most of the guys seem to be those who have played 20+ years of football. A "study" of self-selected population of long-career NFLers who have behavioral problems and finding they all have CTE doesn't convince me. Letting your kid play in high school doesn't seem crazily more dangerous than other sports, and I would let my son play. Go ahead and tell me I'm stupid and a monster.


Study: New cases of CTE in players

According to the study, the BU researchers now have 50 confirmed cases of former football players with CTE -- 33 who played in the NFL, one in the CFL, one semi-professionally, nine through college and six who played only through high school. That included Nathan Stiles, 17, who died of a subdural hematoma after a hit in a 2010 high school homecoming game in Spring Hill, Kan.
   139. PreservedFish Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4362238)
Would football be safer or less safe if they did away with pads and went back to weak little helmets. You couldn't use your head as a spear anymore. Do rugby players have all these health issues late in life? Apologies if this has already been asked or answered.
   140. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:46 PM (#4362248)
Would football be safer or less safe if they did away with pads and went back to weak little helmets. You couldn't use your head as a spear anymore. Do rugby players have all these health issues late in life? Apologies if this has already been asked or answered.


Almost certainly. It would also be much slower and much less exciting to the fans. Football is played as it is currently played because that's what makes the league the most money.
   141. depletion Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4362250)
The aforementioned Syracuse team is usually stacked with Iroquois players.

Jim Brown had a great lacrosse career. He played on his high school team on Long Island (a hotbed as well) and for Syracuse.
   142. BDC Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4362255)
Deliberate contact to the head is not legal in rugby, but quite a lot happens by accident, and concussions are certainly an issue: see this NY Times story on rugby concussions.
   143. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:51 PM (#4362258)
Would football be safer or less safe if they did away with pads and went back to weak little helmets. You couldn't use your head as a spear anymore. Do rugby players have all these health issues late in life? Apologies if this has already been asked or answered.


Rugby has serious concussion problems. I think it would almost certainly exacerbate the problem. Injuries and deaths were common in football in the early years -- it's not like equipment has made things worse, quite the opposite, in fact.

There exist helmets that drastically reduce the risk of concussion. The NFL needs to mandate them.
   144. J. Sosa Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4362275)
To 10: No. My sons were forbidden from playing football. Its a wonderful sport, but I've read too many things and seen the aftermath in my professional life too often to allow them to play. Same thing for donorcycles.

As for alternatives, as other people have pointed out each sport carries risk. Headers in soccer mimic some of the repetitive minor impacts talked about earlier in the thread. I coach soccer and we do not practice headers. It may put us at something of a competitive disadvantage but I think its for the best. It probably wouldn't be the worst idea in the world for outfield players to wear Peter Cech style headgear.

I'm sensitive to the criticism that you can't protect your children from everything, but TBIs are incredibly destructive. Chris Henry IIRC was not even diagnosed with a TBI during his career. That should frighten anyone in football.
   145. smileyy Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4362289)

I'm sensitive to the criticism that you can't protect your children from everything, but TBIs are incredibly destructive.


It doesn't even have to kill or debilitate them for it to be a concern. The risk of making your kid dumber should be concern enough.

Edit: This makes me think that nanites that repair brain damage will be the new market inefficiency / PED.
   146. DanG Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4362313)
Almost certainly. It would also be much slower and much less exciting to the fans. Football is played as it is currently played because that's what makes the league the most money.
Well, there's always this.
   147. J. Sosa Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4362320)
re: 145

Agreed, I think the general public has a picture in mind of a player being motionless on the field when they think of TBI, but that isn't usually how it works. From what I can recall the extent of the initial trauma is not especially predictive of the severity of the long term residuals, but residuals often include (even from minor head trauma) concentration and memory problems, apraxia, spatial problems, migraines, vertigo, speech problems (verbal and written), and a bunch of other nasty things. It is ugly.
   148. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4362324)
Well, there's always this.


We are at a strange place in history. Maybe it's just because it's the now that it's apparent to me but there seems to be this strange split going on where there is a movement to get greater safety for athletes yet at the same time there is a desire for more voyeuristic and violent entertainment. If you told me that in the next 25 years football as we know it would completely be eradicated I wouldn't be totally stunned but if you told me that in that same time a network would start running a TV series based on "The Running Man" (or The Hunger Games for the kids out there) I would not be stunned by that either.
   149. DanG Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4362327)
Well, there's always this.
Or this.
   150. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4362339)
there is a desire for more voyeuristic and violent entertainment


Hasn't civilization been a lot more bloodthirsty in the past? Boxing matches used to last dozens of rounds. We used to have public executions, floggings, etc. A few centuries ago in France, it was popular entertainment to set cats on fire. I think people always like to contrast today with some idyllic notion of the 1950s, and maybe we are more bloodthirsty in comparison to that era, but overall I think modern life is fairly tame. I'm not sure I see any push of the envelope for real violence in entertainment.
   151. smileyy Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4362345)
Boxing matches used to last dozens of rounds.


It was bare-knuckle, so you'd break your hands if you hit a guy too hard. So it was pretty gory.
   152. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4362349)
We are at a strange place in history. Maybe it's just because it's the now that it's apparent to me but there seems to be this strange split going on where there is a movement to get greater safety for athletes yet at the same time there is a desire for more voyeuristic and violent entertainment. If you told me that in the next 25 years football as we know it would completely be eradicated I wouldn't be totally stunned but if you told me that in that same time a network would start running a TV series based on "The Running Man" (or The Hunger Games for the kids out there) I would not be stunned by that either.

I'd be pretty stunned to see football gone in 25 years. The number of "concerned" people is far outweighed by the number of people who want the bread and circuses they want and the number of people who want to make money by providing it to them. The "death" of boxing is not only dramatically overstated, but boxing itself has midwifed the more barbaric version of itself, featuring effectively bare knuckle fighting, outlawed as an affront to civilization in the late 19th century only to reappear in this new 21st century guise. UFC matches are now overtly shown and advertised on FOX and, to a degree, CBS. An environment in which the civilized restraints against bare-knuckle fighting have been overtaken by the relentless march of commerce is not one in which football is going to disappear.
   153. zack Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:35 PM (#4362360)
To some extent, MMA is less brutal than Queensberry boxing because it ends when it is painful, not when you're bludgeoned into unconsciousness. Not that I enjoy either.
   154. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4362392)
My son will take after his pop and be an all-state fencer in high school. Threat of death is minimal since the advent of bated tips.

However, I would be cool with him playing football. I think it's a great sport for boys when taught the right way.
   155. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:56 PM (#4362397)
I'm kinda curious how much the "big hits" appeals to fans. Like if it was gone altogether, would fans still love football as much? I'm inclined to say yes. I love the passing and big plays, not necessarily huge hits. Gambling and fantasy football would still be appealing to a lot of fans. If you could somehow legislate that out, I don't think the sport suffers all that much.

Of course, you can still get concussions through routine football play - and that is the more troubling aspect to me. Offensive linemen are getting hit in the head hundreds of times per year, with much less attention that the big hits linebackers dish out.
   156. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 03:00 PM (#4362403)
Of course, you can still get concussions through routine football play - and that is the more troubling aspect to me. Offensive linemen are getting hit in the head hundreds of times per year, with much less attention that the big hits linebackers dish out.

Why not ban all contact to the head? Period. Lineman makes contact above the shoulder level, 15 yds. Do it a 2nd time, ejection and suspension.

Likewise, ban leading with the head or spearing.
   157. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 04, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4362409)
I'm kinda curious how much the "big hits" appeals to fans. Like if it was gone altogether, would fans still love football as much? I'm inclined to say yes.

Since entire games can go by without any such "big hits", without appreciably diminishing the level of fans' involvement, I'd be inclined to agree. The secret of the NFL's success lies in it highly competitive nature (thank you Bert Bell and Pete Rozelle), the fact that it's a once a week activity, and its unique blend of brute strength andincredible athleticism. But for every memorable "big hit" play by a Ray Lewis or a Lawrence Taylor, the average fan can remember half a dozen "athletic" plays by an Anquan Boldin or a Colin Kaepernick.
   158. madvillain Posted: February 04, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4362410)
Sometimes I think this place has as much jealous disgust of football and the NFL as some Europeans with their "hand egg" attitude.

Yea, FB is dangerous in ways that baseball or soccer or tiddly-winks isn't. Yes, participation is declining (hint, it has been for decades, SI ran this meme in the mid 90's), yes as currently played at the NFL level a player will probably die on the field in the next decade.

But the vast, vast majority of boys who play HS and college FB are not left with any brain issues and it's really the elite of the elite, the guys that make the NFL, that are at risk. As paid professionals they can make adult decisions about the amount of risk they are willing to incur to play the game they love.

I played 3 sports in HS at a high level and played baseball in college. I tell you what, the lessons and hard work taught on the HIGH SCHOOL football field surpassed anything at the low collegiate baseball level. Football is hard work, much harder work than baseball, that's probably a reason for participation decline as well.

Some of you guys need to get over yourselves. Flame on.
   159. base ball chick Posted: February 04, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4362423)
my sons are NOT playing football. meaning over my freaking dead body

my youngest, who LOOKS like a football player (see frank thomas) gets shtt about not playing. FORTUNATELY he can't run fast (think jose molina with a sore leg) but he's had people tell him that he should "get out there anyway it's good for him)

the twins who are built like runningbacks have been asked/asked to play and i have told them absolutely NO FREAKING way and made sure they met a few guys who are in their 20s who played hs/college ball and have some permanent damage to knees which they can't get fixed because no money to fix it and they hurt all the time

my 3 oldest brothers played and i wonder now a LOT if some of their, uh, problems might could have anything to do with concussions
   160. The Good Face Posted: February 04, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4362429)
Why not ban all contact to the head? Period. Lineman makes contact above the shoulder level, 15 yds. Do it a 2nd time, ejection and suspension.


It's not necessarily direct blows to the head that cause the damage. Every collision on the line results in the brain sloshing around in the skull, regardless of whether there's any contact to the head. The current hypothesis is that the aggregation of all those small impacts can add up over time and result in serious damage, even if the player in question never suffered a concussion or big-time blow to the head. If that's the case, it's the contact itself causing the problems, and no amount of technologically advanced helmets or rule changes meant to prevent blows to the head will help.
   161. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 04, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4362433)
Why not ban all contact to the head? Period. Lineman makes contact above the shoulder level, 15 yds. Do it a 2nd time, ejection and suspension.

Likewise, ban leading with the head or spearing.


The head slap, formerly legal, has been banned for at least 10 years.

Spearing is banned, too. "Leading with the head" kind of is, but not using that terminology.

The main cause of concussions is running (or moving) real fast, then decelerating real fast, because someone has stopped you from running (or moving). I don't know how that can realistically be eliminated from football, short of somehow slowing people down -- which really isn't realistic.
   162. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 04, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4362443)
Why are we waiting for someone to die? What could be worse than what happened to Eric Legrand?
   163. just plain joe Posted: February 04, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4362453)
Boxing matches used to last dozens of rounds.


They did, but the rules were different then (see Broughton rules). I suspect that many of the bouts that went 30+ rounds saw a lot of fighters "taking a knee" in order to start a 30 second count. As long as the boxer got up before the count ended, the fight continued. Unless the two sides had agreed to waive this rule (this practice was considered somewhat "unmanly"), there was nothing to prevent one from going down and getting back up repeatedly in order to rest and recover.
   164. depletion Posted: February 04, 2013 at 03:37 PM (#4362457)
Likewise, ban leading with the head or spearing.

You must not have watching lately. Not only is spearing illegal, but even "launching" in which the defender leaves his feet to make a hit (not involving head contact). One of the issues they've found as these have been made illegal is that it is difficult to stop inadvertant contact of the same kind. Now when a defender approaches a ballcarrier he is try to hit below the head, perhaps the chest or upper arm, but the ballcarrier's first reaction is to compress his body, bracing for impact. Imagine yourself on the field - someone coming at you, inevitable contact. The first reaction is to bring the upper body down - so the head is now just where the defender is aiming.
   165. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 03:45 PM (#4362469)
the Toronto Rock (which I believe won three lacrosse championships during that time)


Can't stop the Rock.
   166. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 03:50 PM (#4362473)

But the vast, vast majority of boys who play HS and college FB are not left with any brain issues and it's really the elite of the elite, the guys that make the NFL, that are at risk. As paid professionals they can make adult decisions about the amount of risk they are willing to incur to play the game they love.


I'm not sure how we can say that with any certainty. Football players are also much bigger and faster than they used to be, and the long-term effects of this combination are not going to be fully known for a generation.
   167. jdennis Posted: February 04, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4362476)
re: the helmets

back in the day, the helmets were better at preventing concussions but worse at preventing broken necks. after stingley they changed the helmets to better prevent broken necks, but they became worse at preventing concussions. at least that's what i was told by a physics professor i had who was involved in the design process.
   168. Flynn Posted: February 04, 2013 at 04:10 PM (#4362495)

Rugby has serious concussion problems. I think it would almost certainly exacerbate the problem. Injuries and deaths were common in football in the early years -- it's not like equipment has made things worse, quite the opposite, in fact.


Rugby might, we don't entirely know in part because there's never been a really good study. I would say as an anecdote there haven't been many cases of ex-top players who ended up shooting themselves in the chest because they couldn't remember their children's names.

   169. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4362513)
You must not have watching lately. Not only is spearing illegal, but even "launching" in which the defender leaves his feet to make a hit (not involving head contact). One of the issues they've found as these have been made illegal is that it is difficult to stop inadvertant contact of the same kind. Now when a defender approaches a ballcarrier he is try to hit below the head, perhaps the chest or upper arm, but the ballcarrier's first reaction is to compress his body, bracing for impact. Imagine yourself on the field - someone coming at you, inevitable contact. The first reaction is to bring the upper body down - so the head is now just where the defender is aiming.

Yet guys "launch" themselves at ball-carriers all the time. They try and "blow up" receivers. They try and use their helmets to dislodge the ball.

Basically, you have to take the hard hats away, and force them to wrap-up in order to tackle.

If the defender was not able to lead with the head/shoulder, and "blow up" a ball carrier, the carrier wouldn't need to compress and brace for impact.
   170. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 04, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4362537)
I'm not sure how we can say that with any certainty. Football players are also much bigger and faster than they used to be, and the long-term effects of this combination are not going to be fully known for a generation.


Considering that most HS players don't get CTE scans there's no way to know how much damage is actually done at that level. But I suspect the "dumb jock" meme exists for a reason.
   171. depletion Posted: February 04, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4362543)
Yet guys "launch" themselves at ball-carriers all the time. They try and "blow up" receivers.

Yes, they do try to "blow up" and dislodge the ball, but they don't leave their feet and launch. That's illegal and they do call it. I see your point, regardless of the terminology. I don't see a way out. You have many shoulder pad-to- and leg-to-head impacts. No helmets and those will be causing the concussions. They need 4 inches of silly putty in the helmet. It seems the speed and mass of the players has exceeded the limit at which in can be played safely.
   172. Maximum John Posted: February 04, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4362545)
10. Torn. I loved football and playing in jr. high and high school in the 1970s, I learned things on the field I did nowhere else. Like how to push myself beyond where I thought I could go physically time after time; during practices, especially. Two-a-days in August in the SE Texas heat and humidity and mosquitoes, airplane drills, can't go one more step except this maniac LB coach is screaming at me to get up and go, so I do somehow, ten more steps, over and over. You learn things about yourself in times like those. Of course. back then they wouldn't let us drink water on the field, just loaded us up on salt tablets before practice, so maybe they really were trying to kill someone.

On the other hand, I think football is a much more dangerous game today than when I played, just because of the increased size and speed of the players, if nothing else.

My own sons started off playing both baseball and football. One eventually gravitated to baseball exclusively, the other to the electric guitar. When I had decided to end my organized football career after my junior year and informed my father of my decision, he was devastated. When my own boys told me they'd decided to move on, I think I was relieved more than anything else. I don't think I'd have ever prevented either from continuing to play if they wanted to, or tried to steer them to soccer or something. I am just very glad (and lucky) they tried football and got whatever it was they wanted from it and then moved on, relatively unscathed.
   173. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4362576)

It's not necessarily direct blows to the head that cause the damage. Every collision on the line results in the brain sloshing around in the skull, regardless of whether there's any contact to the head. The current hypothesis is that the aggregation of all those small impacts can add up over time and result in serious damage, even if the player in question never suffered a concussion or big-time blow to the head. If that's the case, it's the contact itself causing the problems, and no amount of technologically advanced helmets or rule changes meant to prevent blows to the head will help.


This is true. Getting rid of the three-point stance would probably help somewhat in this regard.

I played 3 sports in HS at a high level and played baseball in college. I tell you what, the lessons and hard work taught on the HIGH SCHOOL football field surpassed anything at the low collegiate baseball level. Football is hard work, much harder work than baseball, that's probably a reason for participation decline as well.

Some of you guys need to get over yourselves. Flame on.


I played football in high school, as did my older brother and my father. My sister's married to a HS football coach. I was steeped in the culture and all of that. It is indeed hard, painful work. I'm sure to an extent that imparts some worthwhile lessons and improves the work ethic. There's also a cultish sense of fealty in football that went beyond the sense of togetherness and teamwork that I experienced in, say, basketball. It creeped me out a little, even at that young age. I'm sure that mentality is linked to the physical rigors, but the "I'll do anything for this authoritarian coach who likes to make us sprint until we puke!" good-soldier stuff is way too prevalent in football for my tastes.

But it's mostly the fear of brain damage that's going to keep my son from playing. I'm actually a "let him learn by hurting himself" kind of parent at times, but I'm not ####### around with his central-nervous system.
   174. depletion Posted: February 04, 2013 at 05:56 PM (#4362598)
But it's mostly the fear of brain damage that's going to keep my son from playing.

I remember my Mom being reluctant to let my older brother play Jr High School football (early '60's, he ended up playing). Somehow my Dad had no problem with me sythesizing and testing small amounts of explosives in the early '70's.
   175. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 06:12 PM (#4362613)
Somehow my Dad had no problem with me sythesizing and testing small amounts of explosives in the early '70's.


It's all fun & games until someone loses a Greenwich Village townhouse.
   176. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: February 04, 2013 at 06:24 PM (#4362623)
But I suspect the "dumb jock" meme exists for a reason.

It's because the nerds aren't getting laid.

It's fun to watch this site - which demands so much from science in steroid threads - demand so little when it's time to #### on football.
   177. smileyy Posted: February 04, 2013 at 06:38 PM (#4362634)
There's also a cultish sense of fealty in football that went beyond the sense of togetherness and teamwork that I experienced in, say, basketball. It creeped me out a little, even at that young age. I'm sure that mentality is linked to the physical rigors, but the "I'll do anything for this authoritarian coach who likes to make us sprint until we puke!" good-soldier stuff is way too prevalent in football for my tastes.


For me, its the sense of inherent exclusive morality that people take from this.
   178. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 04, 2013 at 07:08 PM (#4362673)
According to the study, the BU researchers now have 50 confirmed cases of former football players with CTE -- 33 who played in the NFL, one in the CFL, one semi-professionally, nine through college and six who played only through high school. That included Nathan Stiles, 17, who died of a subdural hematoma after a hit in a 2010 high school homecoming game in Spring Hill, Kan.

This is all good, and interesting to see the kids who only played in high school, but once again its a self-selected study. If you had a major study that found that 10 or 20% of all high school football players sustained some level of brain injury, then you'd have a world-changing result.
   179. cmd600 Posted: February 04, 2013 at 07:27 PM (#4362687)
which demands so much from science in steroid threads - demand so little when it's time to #### on football.


I don't think its really comparable. A lot about the former on this site is trying to fight against writers who go 'lots of homers! big heads! steroids are ruining our sacred and pure game!' while about the latter, you mostly see '####, way too many bad things are happening to way too many players'.

If a bunch of former baseball players started showing some pretty devastating side effects to too much steroid use, the consensus would probably be that the drugs need to be banned for the players' health. And if hits to the head only affected the records of the game, and not contributed to long-term brain damage, the consensus here would be to stop freaking out about them so much.
   180. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 04, 2013 at 07:31 PM (#4362690)
It's fun to watch this site - which demands so much from science in steroid threads - demand so little when it's time to #### on football.


########. The science around CTE strongly supports limiting football. The fact that you're possibly too brain damaged to understand this isn't germane.
   181. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 07:53 PM (#4362711)
Football is an example of how infrastructure and money prevent people from doing the right thing.

I suspect that, in ten years, football will be banned for children as a form of child abuse.
   182. Dale Sams Posted: February 04, 2013 at 08:39 PM (#4362742)
I suspect that, in ten years, football will be banned for children as a form of child abuse.


And if cops see them playing in a field, will they take them to jail.
   183. cmd600 Posted: February 04, 2013 at 08:51 PM (#4362756)
And if cops see them playing in a field, will they take them to jail.


Let's hypothetically say its banned. If cops see kids tackling each other in a field, they go break it up, just like if it were a fistfight, and send the kids on their way, even if they fully expect that they'll be back in the field again tomorrow. Most cops aren't interested in busting heads of a couple children, but teaching what's acceptable and what's not, and hoping enough sticks by the time the children become adults.
   184. Lassus Posted: February 04, 2013 at 09:00 PM (#4362765)
Reasons to keep your kid form playing football, in order of importance:

1. It's lame.
2. It's really lame.
3. Lame, it is, utterly.
4. The lameness, it hurts.

etc.

112. Show me the lame!
113. I sing to thee of a jet-black lameness.
114. Brain damage.
   185. zenbitz Posted: February 05, 2013 at 03:02 AM (#4362873)
My son is 8.5, his two favorite sports are football and skateboarding. Can pop warner football be actually more dangerous than SKATEBOARDING?? The only people wearing any head protection above a knit cap at the skate park are the under 12s there with their parents.

He loves football and is fast and coordinated (like his mom), but tall, skinny, and weak (like his old man). He could maybe be a receiver or corner if he hit the weight room... alot. So far, he has not been willing to go to practice 3 days a week so no Pop warner for him. But I suppose I should actually use my vast background of biomedicine and statistics and read the CTE lit before I sign off.

He probably is biomechanically best suited to pitching, and he hasn't dropped baseball yet (dropped soccer this year to play flag football)
   186. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:29 AM (#4362947)
Were #183 and #184 serious posts?
   187. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4362973)
The main cause of concussions is running (or moving) real fast, then decelerating real fast, because someone has stopped you from running (or moving). I don't know how that can realistically be eliminated from football, short of somehow slowing people down -- which really isn't realistic.


On the contrary, people can be slowed down pretty easily by changing the materials used in the turf (and, to a lesser extent, their shoes).
   188. zack Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4363001)
Yes! All NFL games are now played in 12" of muck. This will have the secondary benefit of eliminating head-to-ground concussions.
   189. The Good Face Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4363012)
Yes! All NFL games are now played in 12" of muck. This will have the secondary benefit of eliminating head-to-ground concussions.


Nah, just make em play in wooden clogs, or perhaps a pair of kicky espadrilles with a wedge heel.
   190. depletion Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4363015)
Yes! All NFL games are now played in 12" of muck. This will have the secondary benefit of eliminating head-to-ground concussions.

...while wearing clown shoes.
   191. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4363021)
What about sumo suits?

No, then they'd probably start bouncing themselves 12 feet off the ground and the collisions would be worse than ever.
   192. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 05, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4363081)
What about sumo suits?


The solution is, quite obviously, BattleMechs.
   193. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: February 05, 2013 at 12:56 PM (#4363092)
Yes! All NFL games are now played in 12" of muck. This will have the secondary benefit of eliminating head-to-ground concussions.


You laugh, but surface does affect running speed, and it's a pretty easy way to dial down the V in mv^2.
   194. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4363097)
Yes! All NFL games are now played in 12" of muck.


Like this? What a performance.
   195. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4363113)
Like this? What a performance.

Was it ever. Talk about a career that might have been....Wonder whether Gale Sayers told his kids to take up football?
   196. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4363130)
You know what would solve all the problems with concussions in football? Guns!
   197. Ron J2 Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4363184)
#196 Makes sense to me. We can start the kids with tasers.
   198. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:26 PM (#4363188)
You know what would solve all the problems with concussions in football? Guns!


Done.
   199. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 05, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4363284)
Why not ban all contact to the head? Period. Lineman makes contact above the shoulder level, 15 yds. Do it a 2nd time, ejection and suspension.

Likewise, ban leading with the head or spearing.


I would simply institute a rule that only wrap-around tackles are permitted. You have to tackle with your arms and then drag the player down. This business of defenders launching themselves at offensive players is nonsense.

As are the disgusting celebrations of a big hit afterwards.
   200. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 05, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4363313)
I would simply institute a rule that only wrap-around tackles are permitted.

That's the rule in rugby, which is light years safer than American football, though certainly not perfectly safe.

It would be a tough rule to enforce, particularly because you have contact on plays where possession isn't established -- i.e., a DB trying to jar the ball loose before a pass is finally completed.

Very worthy idea, though.
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