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Memo To The NFL: To Reduce Concussions, Ban Football Helmets
http://www.forbes.com ^ | 5/27/2012 | John Tamny

Posted on 05/30/2012 5:50:15 AM PDT by BO Stinkss

Though he’s perhaps best known for his groundbreaking work in the area of public choice economic theory, economist Gordon Tullock once famously observed that mechanical innovations meant to promote greater automobile safety essentially achieve the opposite. If driver safety is the goal, then it would be wisest to mandate spears on car steering wheels that would impale the driver in the event of an accident.

Reduced to the absurd, if death were the near certain result of unsafe driving, then it’s safe to say that the latter would disappear as its consequences became more real. Seatbelts, anti-lock brakes and airbags are great, but is it possible that a greater frequency of unsafe driving has been an unintended result of advances that have softened the negative results of car accidents?

Tullock’s thinking naturally sprung to mind amid all the recent handwringing about the frequency of concussions in the National Football League (NFL). The tragic suicide of Dave Duerson, the USA Today comments from Tom Brady Sr. about safety, and the still unsolved suicide of future first ballot Hall of Famer Junior Seau understandably have the League wondering if the head trauma that is a natural part of football brings with it negative long-term consequences.

(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: football; sourcetitlenoturl
I remember the first time I put on pads and a helmet. The more I got used to them, the more agressive I became. Would you trade a less agressive game for a "safer" game? I would if I were playing but I wouldn't want to pay $200 to watch it.
1 posted on 05/30/2012 5:50:21 AM PDT by BO Stinkss
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To: BO Stinkss

Rugby is probably the best example for comparison.


2 posted on 05/30/2012 5:54:17 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: BO Stinkss

I believe the players know the risk and they take it of their own free will.


3 posted on 05/30/2012 5:55:30 AM PDT by rfreedom4u (I have a copy of the Constitution! And I'm not afraid to use it!)
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To: BO Stinkss

Agreed. When I put on pads and a helmet, I would hit guys who, without pads and helmet, would’ve tried to stay on the other side of the street for.


4 posted on 05/30/2012 5:57:04 AM PDT by MuttTheHoople (Democrats- Forgetting 9/11 since 9/12/01)
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To: nascarnation

The problem with rugby is that it is, well, rugby. The dynamics of the sport are completely different than American football.


5 posted on 05/30/2012 5:57:04 AM PDT by Arkansas Toothpick
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To: nascarnation

You have any statistics on the accident rates for rugby vs. football?

Another great example is boxing. In the old bare knuckle days boxers got cut up something terrible.

But they didn’t wind up “punchy,” and true knockouts were uncommon. You can’t hit somebody hard enough to rattle their brain in their skull with a bare hand without breaking your hand.

So we made boxing neater and tidier and less obviously brutal for the spectators, and far more damaging to the participants.


6 posted on 05/30/2012 5:59:18 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: nascarnation

As a female, I noticed that rugby players tend to have broken noses and cauliflower ears...

still better than brain damage.


7 posted on 05/30/2012 5:59:49 AM PDT by Mrs.Z
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To: BO Stinkss

To reduce concussions and car crashes... Increase DEATH

Stupid.


8 posted on 05/30/2012 6:00:00 AM PDT by rwilson99 (Please tell me how the words "shall not perish and have everlasting life" would NOT apply to Mary.)
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To: BO Stinkss

We used to play unorganized, padless football as kids after school. I don’t recall ever getting hurt.


9 posted on 05/30/2012 6:00:26 AM PDT by wolfman23601
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To: BO Stinkss

Once the southern invasion is complete, football will be banned entirely to clear the way for fútbol.


10 posted on 05/30/2012 6:02:16 AM PDT by ConservaTexan (February 6, 1911)
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To: BO Stinkss

I used to wear a hardhat for work and became so used to my head bouncing off objects that I was careless and smacked my head on things when I was out of work.

In NASCAR, restrictor plate tracks are a constant source of controversy while shorter flatter unrestricted tracks like Michigan and California have higher top speeds without the big crashes. The knowledge of danger is a great safety device.


11 posted on 05/30/2012 6:02:49 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Mrs.Z

It’s definitely not clear cut.

A decade ago my daughter’s boyfriend lost an appointment to West Point due to a brain injury suffered in a rugby game.


12 posted on 05/30/2012 6:10:29 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: wolfman23601
We used to play unorganized, padless football as kids after school. I don’t recall ever getting hurt.

Hmmm ... I recall getting bruises and abrasions from it. BFD ... we didn't really hurt each other. We did get seriously dirty, though ... Here's what pro football used to look like:


13 posted on 05/30/2012 6:11:31 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ConservaTexan

Then we will have Mini racing.


14 posted on 05/30/2012 6:13:47 AM PDT by boomop1
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To: BO Stinkss

More students have committed suicide at my local school since 2000 then NFL football players. Fact is, more teens that never even played the game have committed suicide then all in NFL history.

This new “concussion” issue goes back to when I played in the 1970’s. Everyone playing the game knows the risks - this is just an attack on yet another American tradition.


15 posted on 05/30/2012 6:14:02 AM PDT by edcoil (It is not over until I win.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Of course there were cuts and bruises. By “hurt” I meant any kind of injury that required a trip to the doctor. The most painful injury I got playing schoolyard football was getting racked.


16 posted on 05/30/2012 6:18:29 AM PDT by wolfman23601
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To: BO Stinkss

Most head injuries in Football occur when the player’s head hits the ground.

Their heads would continue to hit the ground if they weren’t wearing helmets.


17 posted on 05/30/2012 6:29:43 AM PDT by free me (heartless)
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To: ArrogantBustard
In the old days, pro football and NASCAR didn't look too much different than at home, just better uniforms and equipment.

It is what it is, but I miss what we lost getting here.

18 posted on 05/30/2012 6:32:56 AM PDT by GBA (To understand what is happening to America and why, read The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn)
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To: wolfman23601
I think we're on the same page regarding what "hurt" means ... the interesting thing, to me, is that after a modern pro football game played on artificial turf the players don't really show any evidence of the game. Sweat ... but no mud, not bruises, no scrapes ... and they've been really hammering each other. The modern pads and helmets really do change the game.

Oddly enough, I recall getting 'racked' more often from baseball than football. Took me a long time to really figure out how to field a grounder ...

19 posted on 05/30/2012 6:41:00 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

We never got into baseball. There was a stretch of basketball, which I wasn’t a big fan of being short and not particularly fast, and another stretch of street hockey, but mostly football. Sad thing is I now live in the same town and never see the kids of today out doing any of that.


20 posted on 05/30/2012 6:52:01 AM PDT by wolfman23601
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To: nascarnation
Major difference between American Football and Rugby (Union or League) is that the only hitting that's permitted is between ball carrier and tackler(s). No blocking, no head slaps, no forward passing so there isn't a quarterback standing there with his feet planted looking 30 yards down field waiting to be plowed into by a 325 pound streaking mass of bone and muscle.

Football was originally played without helmets by university clubs. The number and frequency of deaths from massive concussions led to the mandatory use of leather helmets before or around the turn of the century. Helmet suspension technology (along with size/speed of the athletes) has progressed but the human brain remains a soft gelatinous mass not unlike the inside of a chicken egg and there is not much that can be done about what happens to it when its velocity changes from 20 mph to zero in a fraction of a second from a hard counter blow.

A return to a soft helmet or one that absorbs and distributes impacts like the body of a modern car (damaged helmets would need to be disposable with a large supply of replacements available on the sidelines) would probably help and would also lessen impact trauma when helmets hit things like sternums, knees, and collar bones. But changing to "no helmets" in our style of "find somebody in the other uniform and cream him" football would actually produce on field fatalities.

21 posted on 05/30/2012 6:57:28 AM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: BO Stinkss

What’s an “unsolved suicide”?


22 posted on 05/30/2012 6:58:07 AM PDT by WSGilcrest (/s)
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To: BO Stinkss

“unsolved suicide”

Huh?


23 posted on 05/30/2012 7:01:22 AM PDT by Cyman
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To: ArrogantBustard

note the defender “TACKLING”(with shoulder) the ball carrier NOT “HITTING” (head on) as is done today


24 posted on 05/30/2012 7:10:18 AM PDT by capt B
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To: ArrogantBustard
19 football players died in the 1905 football season.

Pads and helmets merely prevent instant death. Without pads and equipment, players would die instantly. The safety features allow players to endure more trauma longer and suffer those problems later in life.

Throw in the size and speed of today's players and it would be brutal. But, death is always a great regulatory factor.

25 posted on 05/30/2012 7:11:23 AM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: Theoria

Did you read the whole column under that headline? Please do ... then let’s discuss. There’s some fascinating stuff in there.


26 posted on 05/30/2012 7:16:08 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Heh. Today, players of that ‘nature’ would be called ‘gangsters’ on the playing field. Come on, can’t you punch someone?


27 posted on 05/30/2012 7:18:56 AM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: Theoria

Yeah! What’s football without a few rabbit-punches or elbow-slams to the nose?


28 posted on 05/30/2012 7:22:06 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Theoria

BTW, did you notice that 10 of those 19 were 17 years of age or younger?


29 posted on 05/30/2012 7:23:23 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Yeah. Boys being boys. Football was pretty much organized warfare back then. Throw in the lack of other sports back then, soccer, basketball, skateboarding, etc. Every kid either played baseball or football. Its seems perfectly natural to get carried of the football field back in the day.


30 posted on 05/30/2012 7:26:21 AM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: BO Stinkss

“Johnny Unitas once owned the most dangerous right arm in the NFL. Today he barely has use of the hand attached to it. Unitas, who is considered by many to be the greatest field general to play the game, is still paying for a hit he took more than three decades ago as a Baltimore Colt. That day in 1968, Unitas was drawing back his arm to throw a pass when a Dallas Cowboy mashed the inside of his elbow. Unitas came back to play again—the arm seemed fine up through his retirement in 1974—but by the mid-1990s he was having problems with the nerves that controlled his hand and fingers. He lost strength and feeling in the hand and became unable to rotate the thumb back and grasp objects. The symptoms only got worse. Now Unitas cannot close the hand that made Raymond Berry famous.

Unitas’s two knee replacements work perfectly well—cartilage and ligaments in the right knee were torn in a collision with two Bears in 1963, while the left wore out from years of favoring the right—but when he plays golf, which is about all the exercise he can get with those new knees, he has to use his left hand to close the fingers of his gloved right hand around the grip, then strap the hand fast to the shaft with a Velcro strip. He goes through this tedium on every shot. “I do it putting, too,” says Johnny U, who’s 68.

Forty years ago Unitas was the toughest and smartest quarterback in the game, calling the plays and running the show in a way that inspired both fear and awe among teammates and opponents alike. Mentally, he always seemed a step ahead of everyone else. If a situation looked ripe for a pass, Unitas would throw a pass. If it called for a pass and his opponents, trying to outguess him, set up for a run, he’d throw. Unitas perfected the two-minute drill, and no one since—not Montana, not Elway—has run it better.

Setting an NFL record that seems as unassailable as Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, Unitas threw a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games between 1956 and 1960. In the years since, only Dan Marino has come anywhere close to that mark, throwing scoring passes in 30 straight games from 1985 to ‘87.

Unitas has demanded disability compensation from the league but says he has been turned down for various reasons, among them that he didn’t apply by age 55—though his right hand didn’t fail him until he was 60—and that the league pays him a pension of $4,000 a month. The NFL adds that, in its opinion, Unitas is not “totally and permanently disabled.”

Meanwhile, of that magical hand that spun footballs like strands of gold, Unitas says, “I have no strength in the fingers. I can’t use a hammer or saw around the house. I can’t button buttons. I can’t use zippers. Very difficult to tie shoes. I can’t brush my teeth with it, because I can’t hold a brush. I can’t hold a fork with the right hand. I can’t pick this phone up.... You give me a full cup of coffee, and I can’t hold it. I can’t comb my hair.”

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1022464/1/index.htm

I don’t think the author of “Memo To The NFL” knows much about what the NFL was like in the old days...


31 posted on 05/30/2012 7:33:30 AM PDT by Mr Rogers (A conservative can't please a liberal unless he jumps in front of a bus or off of a cliff)
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To: Theoria

The worst invention in modern football is the FACE MASK. When football WAS football, we didn’t wear ‘em. Back then we didn’t need a handle to tackle.


32 posted on 05/30/2012 7:35:37 AM PDT by Invictus (Get used to living in the USSA (ununited socialist states of america))
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To: Theoria

I’m glad you mention the size and speed of today’s players.

Years ago, a 300 pound linebacker was rare. Now, it’s very common to see 300+ pound players.

Remember the laws of physics. Force = Mass x Acceleration. If you get hit by a 350 pounder, the force is much greater than if you got by a 240 pounder.

Back in the days of the leather helmets, there weren’t even that many guys over 200 pounds, if I recall correctly.


33 posted on 05/30/2012 7:58:08 AM PDT by Dilbert San Diego
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To: BO Stinkss

The main difference between the NFL now and what is was like a long time ago is the size of the players. If you watch a video of an NFL game played before 1980, the players seem skinny by today’s standards.

There have been professional athletes for thousands of years, probably going back to ancient Greece, and the standards for size and strength were probably consistent for thousands of years. But starting in the mid 1980’s, NFL players started getting bigger and stronger. It wasn’t their diet or their exercise programs: They started using drugs to increase their muscle mass. Body builders had been using such drugs for a few years already, and other athletes learned about the results and decided to give themselves an edge.

Professional leagues today have good P.R. programs, and they like to make us think the are serious about testing for performance-enhancing drugs. But I believe the drug designers have learned how to stay one step ahead of the testing procedures, and the P.R. scam continues.

The NFL generates so much money, the league and the TV networks have become corrupt. Nobody wants to change the status quo, and risk losing any of the revenue. Fans probably wouldn’t pay $200 to see skinny players, or a less aggressive game changed by the addition of a new set of safety rules.


34 posted on 05/30/2012 8:17:29 AM PDT by 04-Bravo
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To: BO Stinkss
The helmet does not need to be banned. Ban the face mask instead. In the ‘70s, the NCAA came very close to doing so to reduce “spearing” or using the helmet as a weapon.

I'm old enough to have played with a single bar in HS and later a full “bird cage” in college. I put my head where it didn't belong when I had all that metal and rubber in front of my face. (one concussion)

35 posted on 05/30/2012 3:30:40 PM PDT by Makana
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