The end of football -- (serious article)
In today's (2/11) Express News. Simply, the writer is bringing up the scenario that the risk of law suits for long-term brain injury by young men years and years later is going to make the cost of playing football too high for pee-wee, school, and at some point college programs, which will dry up the pool of professional athletes. Not to mention the liability equipment (read helmet) makers aren't going to want to absorb, either.
Wasn't it Shakespeare who said, "Kill all the lawyers?"http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/art ... 305781.phpCould head injuries threaten football's future?
By Douglas Pils
San Antonio Express News
Eight years from now, we should be witnesses to a grand celebration of the NFL's 100th anniversary, even though it was called the American Professional Football Association from 1920-21.
We'll update the 75th anniversary team, and honor dynasties whose coaches don't need first names — Lambeau, Lombardi, Halas, Noll, Landry, Walsh and Belichick.
Now, imagine at the same time we already notice America's grand billion dollar sport slipping away from us.
The reasons come down to simple economics and good health.
Our nation's top athletes are starting to play other sports because brain injury and the lifelong effects of bashing your head into another human being have made football too expensive, both in dollars and lives.
Two economists, Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier, collaborated on an article that hit Grantland.com on Friday that asked a dramatic question — “What would the end of football look like?”
Their hypothesis is this: Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and the rise of liability lawsuits over head injuries eventually makes it impossible for insurance companies to insure colleges and high schools against similar lawsuits.
It's at those levels where kids with brains not yet fully developed are incurring the most damage with little or nothing to show for it but glory days to reminisce.
With fewer teams to play for, basketball and baseball see an influx of talent, and some turn to alternatives such as lacrosse or soccer.
Football talent dries up. Conferences where football doesn't define most of their universities' mission — Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC, Ivy and other East Coast schools — drop the sport.
Advertisers spend their dollars elsewhere. That shrinks cable TV deals, and fewer people, nationally at least, will watch a diminishing product.
For many, that's a scary theory, and it sounds like science fiction.
But think about who could be at the forefront of this revolution — parents. They are the ones to decide if sending their boys to the field because that's what we've always done is really worth it.
The article posits that football will be left to those in the southeast, Texas and Oklahoma, essentially becoming a game played by the poor, those from broken and uneducated homes and foreigners.
Aside from the sport becoming a regional affair, that sounds like characteristics of athletes in another sport where support has waned over the past century: boxing.
Back to the issue of parents: I have no doubt the sport helped me, giving me lifelong friends and extra parents in coaches who kept me out of trouble when trouble was there for the taking.
I took my share of blows to the head in nine years of playing; the worst when a junior varsity tight end ran a practice route over the middle that the varsity linebacker knew was coming. And not long after some smelling salts, we were usually right back out there.
We laugh about those moments now. But are some of those brain-rattling hits the reason for our memory lapses, or is it just us getting older?
I'm one who thought poorly of people who said they would never let their kids play football.
Now, as evidence mounts to the dangers of young minds in a helmet meant to protect the skull but little of the brain that slams around inside, that thought changes.
Like one of my former teammates wrote after reading the Grantland article, we're glad our boys are more interested in baseball and basketball.
Does that make us leaders in a growing revolution? Time will email@example.com