NFL players are choosing early retirement. Is the future of football under scrutiny?
I LOVE football. Actually, I love the Seattle Seahawks, but I cringe each time a player gets pummeled in the head.
The above Washington Post article suggests American football may some day fall away as a sport, similar to what happened to boxing. Many years ago, I remember boxing being the sport that people gathered around their televisions to watch, whether at home or in the bars. I can understand why nowadays most of us would rather not watch two people bash each other in the head; a head with virtually no protection in the boxing ring. But even with all the sophisticated helmet and body gear covering football players on the field, players are still sustaining concussions that could sooner or later place them in neurological hell.
If the football franchise can’t figure out how to protect its players, I imagine it is possible the sport may suffer the same outcome as boxing. But darn it all, it’s the 21st century and globally, there is a wealth of engineering and medical knowledge out there that should be able to protect a person’s brain from becoming mush.
This type of injury is not limited to the highly-paid football players for which we cheer week after week during the football season. Little Johnny, Clarence, and Susie are being subjected to hits to the head that may start their brain’s decline at an early age. Perhaps parents who allow their young children, high-school, and college-aged children to play the sport will be accused of child abuse. Alternately, perhaps the game of football should not be an organized school sport. No team? No players. No football-caused concussions.
I think the correct answer is three-fold: design gear that more adequately protects the brain; change the rule system to establish stricter illegal contact rules; severely penalize players who break those rules. Penalties should cost them substantially more monetarily, and penalized players should be thrown out of the game sooner when such actions occur.
In soccer – another type of field sport – the referee pulls out the red card. Maybe we need to see more red cards/flags on American football fields.