Has Football Become Too Dangerous?
American football is a violent sport and it's not getting any softer. The National Football League has long been the archetype of machismo in this country and that won't change. What will change,inevitably,is the increase of violent hits that can have a lasting impact on a man's health. It's apparent that league officials are noticing the trend of injured players and are instituting new rule changes to ensure the safety of current and future players. Wrestling with the issue of eliminating kickoffs altogether, league officials decided to move kickoffs up to the 35 which gives the kicker a better shot at kicking the ball out of the end zone and nullifies a returners effectiveness. The fact that this major rule change didn't face a whole lot of opposition is a sign that times are changing and fans are starting to warm up to the idea of a safer NFL. So, you say what's the point? Point is, i don't think the NFL 20 years from now will look at all like the game we see today. I foresee major alterations in the way the game is played and that includes the elimination of kickoffs entirely. Change is good in my opinion. I point to the tragic case of one of my all-time favorite linebackers Junior Seau, as the prime example of why it's crucial for pro football to institute change. A seemingly invincible warrior, that was never officially diagnosed with a concussion, spent the last seven years of his life suffering from insomnia and taking endless amounts of Ambien just so he could fall asleep every night. With no history of mental illness or depression, Seau's death was shocking for the simple fact that the man was rarely seen without a smile. What would possess Seau to fatally shoot himself in the chest at the age of 43? It was discovered in the autopsy that he suffered from CTE, a condition related to concussion-related brain damage. Modern training methods continue to improve and are responsible for helping create these seemingly superhuman athletes that are bigger, stronger, and faster to the likes of which we've never seen before in pro sports. That, coupled with the bone-jarring physicality of the NFL is a recipe for disaster in my opinion. As sad as it is to say, i think it's going to take a players death on the field for people to realize how dangerous football's become. The cosmic shift in emphasis on a players size in today's NFL is contextualized in this small but alarming nugget of information."From 1920 to 1984, there were never more than eight players in any season who weighed 300 pounds or more". The lethal combination of size and speed is going to prove to be fatal if changes aren't made now or in the near future. I often wonder if the NFL will exist at all in 20 years with the way things stand today.