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Thread: The cost of better athletes?

  1. #1
    Administrator Ken Stallings's Avatar
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    Default The cost of better athletes?

    This article written by Stuart Varney caught my attention, and made me think that perhaps he's observing something accurately without actually pinpointing the cause of it.

    https://www.foxbusiness.com/features...problem-varney

    He notes accurately the sharp reduction in kids playing high school football. He links this to the early retirement announcement by star quarterback Andrew Luck. That link is reasonable. But, what he misses is the most likely cause for the rise in concussions in the sport.

    It may be that the rise of concussion injuries in football has less to do with equipment and more to do with the athleticism of the players in the game. Force equals mass times acceleration (F=ma). We have since the 1960's seen a steady rise in the quality of football training standards and it has undoubtedly produced stronger and faster players. Stronger has meant more mass. Faster means more acceleration. The sudden deceleration from a football hit is the same as acceleration as the force still transfers itself into the body.

    There is no question that the NFL protocols have placed more visibility on concussions and even less doubt of the need given the numbers of retired players who's lives ended up in a world of pain and adversity due to repeated concussion injuries. All this has caused many parents to steer their boys away from football. I really don't see this trend changing. Baseball participation is on the rise as is soccer. Varney being a Brit expat focused on his national game, so he missed baseball.

    I don't know how you put the Genie back in the bottle and start creating less athletic and conditioned football players! So, that option seems out of reach. Football is already re-training players to avoid contact to the head. The problem the sport faces is that they didn't implement that last part during the 1970's when the equipment made such a move more necessary that it is today. During the heyday of football, the form tackle was to wrap the opponent in a bear hug and bring him down with your body weight. During the 1970's, the glamour play became the kill shot of flying into the opponent like a missile and send him hurling backwards in a violent collision. The roar of the crowd was undeniable. But, at the time so was a grave threat to the sport that only much later became undeniable!

    Ken

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    Super Moderator LSmith's Avatar
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    Go back to leather helmets with no face mask. You will see a huge decrease in players leading with their helmets. You will probably see a lot more broken noses and loss teeth but a big drop in concussions. I am kidding and know it will never happen but this really was suggested a few years ago by Joe Paterno and I bet it would lower the concussion rate.

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    Administrator Ken Stallings's Avatar
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    The idea that a helmet could be a weapon only came into vogue when football switched from the leather to the high density plastic shells. What few knew is that while the plastic helmet could injure upon contact, the brain inside was being slowly injured by hitting the inside of the skull.

    A soft outer shell helmet would have kept this from happening. I still remember my high school football coach yelling out, “You got pads! Hit him!”

    Ken

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