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It will never happen...

May 14, 2012 - Michael Palmer
Following Junior Seau’s tragic death earlier this month, which reports have speculated may have been linked to his many concussions from football, debates have intensified over the short and long-term dangers of the game. I blogged about the flurry of negativity swiriling about our beloved sport and fellow writer Mike Hughes wrote a column in the Sunday paper echoing our fears that the sport could be in big trouble. In the most recent tragedy, semi-professional football player David Coleman has died after a blind hit during, of all things, a charity game to raise money for Lou Gehrig’s disease

According to the Toledo Blade, 32-year-old Coleman played for the Jay County (Ind.) Panthers, and was injured in an afternoon contest against the Northwest Ohio Knights at Springfield High School, before being pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. “No one expected this,” said Anthony Mathis, the quarterback of the opposing team, the Northwest Ohio Knights.

“This is just a fluke, and this is like a one-in-a-million chance, and unfortunately that chance happened today.”

The sports staff scoffed, doubting that the king of all sports could ever be taken down by overprotective helicopter moms and a society run by liberals who categorize football players and fans as neanderthals.

Really, like MMA and the UFC did not just suffer a ban in New York State where legislation outlawed the sport because MMA fights can cause concussions, and organizations like UFC don't do enough to prevent or treat rattled brains.

The NFL has been villinized as the nationally televised gambling and meat-rendering factory and we know, like all sports, football cannot survive without new players.

John Kass' column said, "Parents are asking themselves: Is football worth it for my child?

I loved football. I played it in high school, and my brothers played it and my uncles and cousins. Our Uncle Nick died in the Canadian league from a head injury, and still we played. And still kids are signed up to play a game designed to punish the human body, and the brain.

So why not make it simple and just give the kids packs of cigarettes instead? Or you might encourage them to beat their brains out as prizefighters. Fight promoters, like NFL teams, are always looking for fresh beef. Imagine cheering for your son in the ring as he dodges left hooks and throws that counter right, crunching the other fighter's temple.

Isn't that what we cheer when there's a big hit on NFL Sundays? And are we not entertained?"

It is the NASCAR syndrome, you watch the race for the inevitable crash. Right?

This not a shot at the game from a pony tail wearing pencil-necked geek who spent his high school days avoiding gym class with an excuse form and a nebulizer. This article is from a participant, a member of the football family and we need to take heed.

I would suggest a quick intervention to improve helmets, an advance in protective equipment will go a long way to hold off those who will call for the end of football.

They are already much better than our 70s style helmet but the technology is out there to make them even safer, so why not?

You can never take out all the elements of danger from injury out of football, or from any other sport. That's right soccer moms, even kick ball is dangerous.

As you might expect, most (50-80%) soccer injuries affect the feet and legs. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that the contact that occurs while playing soccer is at the same level as during boxing, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, rodeo and wrestling and even the skirt clad women of field hockey are risking brain damage.

Head injuries account for between 4% and 22% of all soccer injuries depending on which data bank you access.

Softball, even with the addition of facemasks and heart sheilds, can still be dangerous. Outfield collisions, collisisons sliding into bases and even with a helmet taking fast ball to the ear hole is a bit brain rocking.

I played a few games for the Eagles in Heath, a semi-pro football club. We played against prison teams and teams with retired professional players, so I can give testimony to the hits being quite comparable to NFL bone crunching tackles.

I even played a weekly game of tackle football without pads and helmets. Could explain why I ended up as a photographer?

My point is, I think, that no matter how far fetched it seems that football could be killed by helicopter moms and occupy protestors with hand painted signs, the possibility is as real as the end of prayer in schools.

You do not need a majority, just a vocal monority and a liberal legal system.

Say it ain't so.


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