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I don't know if getting rid of pads and helmets in their entirety is the right answer. However, I would prefer if we went back to a new generation of the soft shelled helmet and use rugby practice style padding to protect the vital organs. Here is an interesting article from the Gaurdian UK on the topic and I think the discussion by the Rugby coach/PhD makes a lot of valid points.
...Jim McKenna, a professor of physical activity and health at Leeds Metropolitan University...points out that American footballers tackle with their heads, butting each other in a way seldom seen in rugby. "They butt the opposition and their head is the tip of the missile, with an enormous body of weight behind them," says McKenna. Meanwhile, the helmets and padding the US sportsmen wear can actually make the situation worse, he thinks, encouraging them to use more force...
In an article from a British rugby team, they made some good points about teaching proper tackling -- "Next time your child complains to you that Coach Persanis starts every season off with the same tackling drills and they are so slow and so boring, just remind them that it’s better to be safe than sorry."
If we keep pushing off football until high school, we are raising a bunch of kids that don't know proper tackling form and are just doing it the wrong way leading to more concussions and other serious injuries.
Barack Obama has said he thinks the sport may be too violent. But, in terms or risk, how does it measure up against the British equivalent?
There has been a lot of press lately about concussions and their affect on former NFL players. The recent death of Junior Seau prompted me to write this ar...
see, I'm on the other side. I've already pretty much stopped watching the NFL. for me, watching husbands and fathers bash their heads to the extend that their families are likely going to suffer down the road isn't entertaining. I saw an interview with Junior Seau's son and it's just not in my nature to be part of glorifying that. For the same reason, I have no interest in MMA or boxing.
At some point, professional football went from a strategic game to modern day gladiators. I love the game of football, I really do. What I see when I turn on the TV on sunday is men in full body armor destroying their bodies for millions of dollars, not football. It makes me sick to my stomach watching guys at the highest level of the sport forgo things like form tackling to fly head first into each other.
I think you are right though that most will continue to watch and those with feelings like mine will be in the vast minority. At least in the short term, but that might change as fans start to come face to face with the consequences over time. You are also right that they are grown men who are consenting to play the sport. The problem I have is that we don't know enough about the consequences of head trauma for these guys to provide informed consent. Like I mentioned above, there will be a day when all that can be done for safety will be done and the sport will either see drastic rule changes, or it will simply be accepted that these guys are modern day gladiators who WILL destroy their brains by choosing to play. Right now, I see a bunch of guys signing up for something they dreamed of their whole lives with little to no true understanding of the consequences. I think they understand there is risk, but no one has a clue about the level of risk and that's scary to me.
If the research that is out there continues on the trajectory it's on, we could very well be looking at a rate of CTE that isn't too far off from 100% in terms of lifetime prevalence. Basically, it will be more a question of when, not if.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by spud358 18 months ago
First thing I learned in rugby was to tackle with my head behind the runner. It was really, really strange to learn because you're taught to tackle head in front in American football. Even after years of playing I was sticking my head in front of a runner or down around his knees trying to bring him down. I'm actually pretty lucky I didn't take a knee to the head or lose some teeth.
I do think that American football would be safer without helmets. I don't think that could ever get passed, because we view them as a safety device, but they really work in the opposite manner. They make people feel invincible.
Yeah, I have started to make the transition to Rugby - a couple union matches last fall and hopefully a full slate this coming this spring/fall. I took a couple good shots and learned pretty quickly...head anywhere but the front/knees.
I think a modified scrum cap would help a lot with these issues. I don't know how many times in high school...I used my helmet or someone else use their helmet as a weapon.
I'm with you. Rugby is a fantastic sport and a blast to play. I actually think if american football was modified to be more of a contact sport like rugby and less collision, it would still be as popular and probably more safe.
It's all about the $$$. As long as they keep raking it in to the tune of billions of dollars, it's not going anywhere.
"Joe Paterno's the greatest college football coach ever" -Urban Meyer cleveland.com/osu/index.ssf/2012/01/urban_meyer_calls_joe_paterno.html
He ain't heavy - He's my brother!
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