Football May Be Bad for Your Health - But Here’s a Solution:
For about the thirty something year in a row, I sit down on Sundays and enjoy one of America’s favorite pastimes….NFL Football! I grew up in New York and enjoyed going to Jet games at Shea Stadium. Childhood memories I’ll never forget. Cold Sundays, hot chocolates, breakfast in the Grid Iron Room and another mediocre season for Broadway Joe and the Jets (The 1970’s). The one thing that nobody really talked about then were all the football injuries. But wait….there must of been injuries, right? Namath always seemed to be “out for the season.” Then more recently, there was that movie, “Concussion” which highlighted Pittsburgh Steelers Center Mike Webster…..he was diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease found in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma. In CTE, a protein called Tau forms clumps that slowly spread throughout the brain, killing brain cells. So suddenly football, did not seem to be as much fun as it used to be. Seeing players carted off the field every Sunday….That’s no fun, especially for the players. Thankfully, with the public outcry, the NFL has acknowledged that the game has to be safer. Every season, there are new rules, new equipment, more discussions on how to make the game safer…..and yet, when watching the Falcon/Saints game today there were still at least five or six players hurt on the field and carted off to the locker room. Which got me thinking of a possible solution. 🤔
SOLUTION: Ok, better, smarter rules to protect players? That sounds good. I like that. How about better, safer, equipment? Yup, I like that too. But because this is a heavy contact sport that demands lots of muscle and BIG players at the line of scrimmage….the danger is really built into the sport….and even the best technological advances in helmet protection is not going to stop a players brain from jousting about inside their skull. I think a DRASTIC change to the sport is really needed to make a difference…..and that is to make the field at least 120 yards long….and maybe a little wider too. And your thinking, what does the size of the field have to do with player safety? Not much for about the next decade or so. But my thinking is that a larger field will inevitably attract a leaner, faster athlete. That to excel in football, it will become more about speed and agility, versus the current model of brute force and heavy hitting. Players are going to have to be light on their feet, faster and leaner. There will never be any foolproof solution. There will be injuries…..but perhaps they there will be less of the heavy impact hitting. I have not studied the Canadian Football League, but I think their field is bigger. Maybe bigger is better??