I realize how insensitive what I’m about to ask sounds, but have we gone too far in trying to protect all athletes, particularly football players, from concussions?
Obviously we need to protect players and, clearly, we didn’t for decades. But it has reached a point when practically every blow to the head – particularly on quarterbacks – results in what is called a concussion. Sunday, for example, three NFL QBs had their days shortened by concussions.
If, indeed, all of the concussions are real, then we’re facing another major problem: The survival of contact sports competition.
The sports czars are working around the clock trying to figure out ways to protect players. Equipment manufacturers constantly are working on head gear to lessen the blows. The owners are tinkering with the rules to further penalize blows to the head. Coaches are fighting their natural instincts to teach players to be less violent.
Where will it all end? We already joke about tackle football becoming flag football. How much farther can we go with the rules before fans are turned off?
The cynic in me also wonders if this epidemic of concussions is more about possible litigation than it is about player safety. Such litigation certainly will impact the future of contact sports. The NFL is fighting a concussion-related class action lawsuit right now. More than 2,000 former players have sign on, contending they were told to continue playing after suffering possible concussions.
How long before other levels of football and other sports face similar lawsuits?
I had to ask.
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