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Thread: The End of Football

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    Senior Member Katy Lied's Avatar
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    Default The End of Football

    My intent for this thread is to document the end of football as we know it, due to the undeniable effects of CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

    The first salvo in the war to ban football was this seminal article by Malcolm Gladwell:

    MalcolmGladwell, Offensive Play, The New Yorker, Oct 19, 2009
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2...?currentPage=1
    This was the first widely publicized article to bring to public attention the dangers of concussion, especially the new ideas that (1) It wasn't the big hits that caused the most chronic danger, but the small subconcussive hits. The ones where players don't lose consciousness, and mostly just shake it off.
    (2) That repetition of these small hits adds up to chronic and irreversible loss over time, affecting ex-players in multiple profound ways.

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    Senior Member Katy Lied's Avatar
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    The suicide of Junior Seau.

    Many couldn't understand why or how the happy go lucky USC and Chargers product could be so depressed that he attempted suicide multiple times and finally succeeded in 2012. The National Institutes of Heath concluded that he suffered from neurodegenerative brain disease linked to concussions, which has been shown to trigger depression.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jan...brain-20130110

    Chargers teammate Gary Plummer said that a pro football player will suffer a minimum of 5 subconcussions per game, enough to make them see stars.
    Last edited by Katy Lied; 11-08-2013 at 07:26 AM.

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    A BYU engineering student is going to fix all of this with his new "smart" helmet...

    http://www.cougarstadium.com/showthr...-com&p=1041612


    Actually, our son has had a number of concussions playing football. So many he is now done playing the game.
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    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    WTH? Buzzkill.

    While you are at it, how about wandering over to those Traeger threads and telling us all about cholesterol and carcinogens in smoked meat.
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    Senior Member Katy Lied's Avatar
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    A book by Mark Fainaru Wada and Steve Fainaru called League of Denial is released in October 2013. This book documents efforts by the NFL to deny claims of CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

    WHEN ROGER GOODELL took over as NFL commissioner in September 2006, it was hard to ignore how his predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, had dumped a mushrooming health crisis in his lap. In 1994, Tagliabue had created the NFL's Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, a research body that insisted repeatedly -- in scientific papers and public statements -- that NFL players were impervious to brain damage. The MTBI Committee was run by a man who would become Tagliabue's personal physician, Elliot Pellman, a rheumatologist and New York Jets doctor who had no previous experience in brain research. "Commissioner Goodell inherited a nightmare, truly inherited a nightmare," said Bob Stern, a Boston University neuropsychologist who soon would become involved in the crisis. "He inherited a cover-up."
    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/97...-espn-magazine

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    Where's Wallace? Surfah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Ted View Post
    A BYU engineering student is going to fix all of this with his new "smart" helmet...

    http://www.cougarstadium.com/showthr...-com&p=1041612


    Actually, our son has had a number of concussions playing football. So many he is now done playing the game.
    Your son playing college ball retired?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfah View Post
    Your son playing college ball retired?
    Yep. He's done.
    "If there is one thing I am, it's always right." -Ted Nugent.
    "I honestly believe saying someone is a smart lawyer is damning with faint praise. The smartest people become engineers and scientists." -SU.
    "I never preached in Texas, but I have preached in places as wicked..." -Brigham Young.
    "If we do nothing we'll be substantially behind (other Power leagues) a decade from now." -Bob Bowlsby on Big 12 expansion.
    GIVE 'EM HELL, BRIGHAM!

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    Senior Member Katy Lied's Avatar
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    In 2013 The NFL and Riddell paid almost a billion dollars ($965,000,000) to 6,000 retired players and their families.

    Their argument was that the NFL had "propagated its own industry-funded and falsified research" to conceal the link between football and brain damage. One week before the start of the 2013 season, the NFL settled the case -- agreeing to pay the players $765 million, plus an expected $200 million in legal fees. The NFL did not admit wrongdoing, but the settlement hardly resolved the question at the core of the league's concussion crisis: How dangerous is football to one's brain? Unlike smoking, there was no scientific consensus about the risks of playing football. One neurosurgeon connected to the NFL said children were more likely to sustain a brain injury riding a bike or falling down. Another neurosurgeon, also connected to the league, called for abolishing tackle football entirely for children younger than 14.

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    sweet triple TripletDaddy's Avatar
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    Boo. I thought this thread was the end of Katy Lied's football posts.
    Fitter. Happier. More Productive.


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    Senior Member Katy Lied's Avatar
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    As I see it, the demise of football will advance along two prongs:

    1. Local authorities will begin to outlaw football for youngsters. It might start by banning football in local municipalities for anyone younger than 10. Then it will move up to age 12, then 14. As football leagues at young ages begin to disappear, so too will the talent for the NFL. Then football in middle school will be banned, followed inevitably by football in high school, and the HS districts will be unable to afford the insurance policies and legal staff required to defend the existence of a local team.

    2. Riddell and other football equipment manufacturers will start to face accumulating lawsuits. Riddell is in a no win situation, because the safer they make their equipment, the more players feel invinceable and push the envelope on head injuries. Finally, equipment manufacturers will go out of business. This is not Big tobacco, where addicted users keep buying your product. These are concerned families who make the decision not to endanger the future quality of life of their sons.

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    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Lied View Post
    As I see it, the demise of football will advance along two prongs:

    1. Local authorities will begin to outlaw football for youngsters. It might start by banning football in local municipalities for anyone younger than 10. Then it will move up to age 12, then 14. As football leagues at young ages begin to disappear, so too will the talent for the NFL. Then football in middle school will be banned, followed inevitably by football in high school, and the HS districts will be unable to afford the insurance policies and legal staff required to defend the existence of a local team.

    2. Riddell and other football equipment manufacturers will start to face accumulating lawsuits. Riddell is in a no win situation, because the safer they make their equipment, the more players feel invinceable and push the envelope on head injuries. Finally, equipment manufacturers will go out of business. This is not Big tobacco, where addicted users keep buying your product. These are concerned families who make the decision not to endanger the future quality of life of their sons.
    Good thing boxing or mma doesn't result in brain trauma or they might already be gone.
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

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    Interesting to see the tone of most of the responses so far.

    "WTH? Buzzkill.

    While you are at it, how about wandering over to those Traeger threads and telling us all about cholesterol and carcinogens in smoked meat."

    "Boo. I thought this thread was the end of Katy Lied's football posts."

    "Good thing boxing or mma doesn't result in brain trauma or they might already be gone."


    No one really addressing the issue or providing any actual rebuttal, just a lot of emotional responses.

    IMO, this is a real thing. I'm not convinced football will cease to exist altogether, but the sport as we know it may be gone in 20 years.

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    Board eye candy beefytee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creekster View Post
    Good thing boxing or mma doesn't result in brain trauma or they might already be gone.
    Funny you should mention that.

    There is a reason that the NCAA hasn't sponsored boxing since 1960.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NCAA_Boxing_Championship

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    sweet triple TripletDaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandYFan View Post
    Interesting to see the tone of most of the responses so far.

    "WTH? Buzzkill.

    While you are at it, how about wandering over to those Traeger threads and telling us all about cholesterol and carcinogens in smoked meat."

    "Boo. I thought this thread was the end of Katy Lied's football posts."

    "Good thing boxing or mma doesn't result in brain trauma or they might already be gone."


    No one really addressing the issue or providing any actual rebuttal, just a lot of emotional responses.

    IMO, this is a real thing. I'm not convinced football will cease to exist altogether, but the sport as we know it may be gone in 20 years.
    I thought my post addressed the most important issue
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    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Just in case SandYFan is wondering, I am fully aware of the risk in eating smoked meats.
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    Quote Originally Posted by beefytee View Post
    Funny you should mention that.

    There is a reason that the NCAA hasn't sponsored boxing since 1960.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NCAA_Boxing_Championship
    Sure. And the sport endures. The brain trauma is pretty bad. Clearly. But my point is suggesting the 'first salvo'' of asserting football causes brain trauma in 2009 (what would we do without the nyorker?) will result in the end of football is likely premature. Now she did leave an out by saying 'as we know it' or some such. And I suppose that is very likely true. But I've felt that way ever since they outlawed stick'em. Boxing is still with us. Mma is too. Football will be here for a long time. There's a reason Riddell can afford to pay that settlement.
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

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    Board eye candy beefytee's Avatar
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    For the record, I mostly agree with Kay that changes are coming and youth, secondary ed., and collegiate football is probably in danger. I don't think the NFL will go away. I could see football play being banned for people under the age of 18 (or 21 since they can get away with it for alcohol).

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    Suomalainen New Mexican Disaster's Avatar
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    The more information that comes about the more difficult it will be to justify the sport. I can see the end on the distant horizon, unless there are safety modifications to equipment that can take away some of the risk. I won't let my kids play it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by New Mexican Disaster View Post
    The more information that comes about the more difficult it will be to justify the sport. I can see the end on the distant horizon, unless there are safety modifications to equipment that can take away some of the risk. I won't let my kids play it.
    I let my son play but it still freaks me out. If he said he didn't want to play I would have no problem with it.
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    Board eye candy beefytee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creekster View Post
    Sure. And the sport endures. The brain trauma is pretty bad. Clearly. But my point is suggesting the 'first salvo'' of asserting football causes brain trauma in 2009 (what would we do without the nyorker?) will result in the end of football is likely premature. Now she did leave an out by saying 'as we know it' or some such. And I suppose that is very likely true. But I've felt that way ever since they outlawed stick'em. Boxing is still with us. Mma is too. Football will be here for a long time. There's a reason Riddell can afford to pay that settlement.
    It's true football has had its issues in the past with deaths and the threat of abolishment and they have adjusted (forward pass anyone?). There is definitely the possibility that they are able to make necessary adjustments again, but I think there is definitely a risk that the sport isn't nimble enough to adjust. There will always be some form of football out there, but there is a sizable risk that it loses the sponsorship of academic institutions and that youth leagues are outlawed or dwindle due to legal risks.
    Last edited by beefytee; 11-08-2013 at 08:21 AM.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by SandYFan View Post
    Interesting to see the tone of most of the responses so far.

    "WTH? Buzzkill.

    While you are at it, how about wandering over to those Traeger threads and telling us all about cholesterol and carcinogens in smoked meat."

    "Boo. I thought this thread was the end of Katy Lied's football posts."

    "Good thing boxing or mma doesn't result in brain trauma or they might already be gone."


    No one really addressing the issue or providing any actual rebuttal, just a lot of emotional responses.

    IMO, this is a real thing. I'm not convinced football will cease to exist altogether, but the sport as we know it may be gone in 20 years.
    I have no rebuttal to KL's articles or the data they present. I think it's pretty much common sense that if you hit your head hard enough and long enough against other humans or solid objects then you're going to come away with brain trauma. That should not be up for debate. The question is whether we will be able to make technological advancements that will allow for safe, violent collisions (wow, that's an oxymoron), whether they will change the rules to make it safer, or whether they will ban football outright.

    I think the third option is out of the question. Football had a similar problem about a century ago and it managed to survive. The game is even more firmly entrenched into society now and much more is at stake to really think that they will outright ban the game.

    I do not think that technology will work fast enough to significantly prevent injury. Unless they develop some titanium space suit with a force field, but even then there will be issues.

    I predict that football will look very different in 20 years. In order to survive the NFL and other leagues will change the rules and begin massive education effort and begin training athletes' about the proper way to tackle and also their attitudes about how to approach the game, thus reducing CTE. Pop warner leagues will come under further scrutiny and in some jurisdictions they will be banned. There will still be an inherent risk that certain people will take, but the number of people playing football will decrease, thus causing the talent pool to shrink and possibly causing the NFL and college football to shrink too.

    I don't think any of these changes will happen quickly, simply because there is too much money at stake, but this is the death knell for football as we know it. The game will be forced to change in order to survive.
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    I've thought a lot about this. I have no verifiable data other than my own experience as a coach and official who has received concussion training. My experience is that the younger the player the less likely they will have a concussion. As a player's age increases then the chance of a verifiable concussion increases but are still very rare. In my ten years or so as a youth football official I can only think of a handful of times I had to institute the concussion protocol. This includes the oldest youth players in my area who are ninth graders. Even in high school games there were few instances where it became necessary to follow the protocol for concussions. This of course doesn't mean there aren't kids who have concussion problems. Ted's kid obviously has a history which led to retirement. One of my high school teammates was concussion prone and finished by the middle of his junior year. That particular kid played inside backer next to me and was a very hard hitter. His problem was his technique was poor and he led with his head. It wasn't a surprise to anyone that he had concussion issues.

    I honestly think that some people are simply more prone than others to suffer concussions and exhibit debilitating symptoms. I've had four concussions that resulted in me being knocked silly or out. One playing soccer, one when an old wooden ladder was dropped on my head, one when I fell off a wall, and one in a car accident. As of now I've had zero lasting effects. Also I'm reasonably sure I did far more damage to my brain heading soccer balls than I ever did playing football.

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    Board eye candy beefytee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaka View Post
    Also I'm reasonably sure I did far more damage to my brain heading soccer balls than I ever did playing football.
    I saw a report on the local news about the danger of heading soccer balls and there is talk of outlawing it in high school soccer.

    I wouldn't be surprised if that went away as well, at least at the youth level.

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    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pellegrino View Post
    I don't think any of these changes will happen quickly, simply because there is too much money at stake, but this is the death knell for football as we know it. The game will be forced to change in order to survive.
    Indeed. No more leather helmets without any kind of protection for the face.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    Indeed. No more leather helmets without any kind of protection for the face.
    were it that simple of a comparison.
    Dio perdona tante cose per un’opera di misericordia
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    Knock it off. This board has enough problems without a dose of middle-age lechery.

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    There has been some interesting changes to helmet design in the last ten years which I think have made a small difference. I think were are going to see some really off the wall designs in the next several years. I'd wager some of these will also include messing with the shape of the shell similar to what happened with hockey goalie helmets and hockey goalie style helmets for baseball catchers and umpires.

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Lied View Post
    A book by Mark Fainaru Wada and Steve Fainaru called League of Denial is released in October 2013. This book documents efforts by the NFL to deny claims of CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.



    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/97...-espn-magazine
    PBS put together a Frontline special with these guys:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...gue-of-denial/

    I saw most of the first hour on TV the other night. One could draw some parallels between how the NFL responded to the deceased Steeler brain research in Pittsburgh and the current Incognito/Martin developments.
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    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pellegrino View Post
    were it that simple of a comparison.
    I would say that there have been substantial changes to helmets, pads, etc. over the years. But I don't see anyone claiming that it was "the end of football". Sure there will be an ongoing series of tweaks and adjustments to equipment and rules, but to say that football will be killed off in 20 years strikes me as nutty hyperbole.
    "There is no creature more arrogant than a self-righteous libertarian on the web, am I right? Those folks are just intolerable."
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    Quote Originally Posted by pellegrino View Post
    I have no rebuttal to KL's articles or the data they present. I think it's pretty much common sense that if you hit your head hard enough and long enough against other humans or solid objects then you're going to come away with brain trauma.
    This is where I think most people stand. Did anyone think the game was safe? Are these stories and findings really that much of a surprise to anyone?

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    Senior Member Omaha 680's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beefytee View Post
    I saw a report on the local news about the danger of heading soccer balls and there is talk of outlawing it in high school soccer.

    I wouldn't be surprised if that went away as well, at least at the youth level.
    I read a study that you have to be heading the ball with the frequency of professional players before it can begin to be a risk. As in hundreds of times over the course of one season. Which brings me to my question for those that are afraid to let their kids play football: there has always been risk of serious injury in football, but doens't all the data coming out suggest that it is the repetitive subconcussive blows over many years that lead to CTE? It is my understanding that NFL players are experiencing CTE because they spent decades getting subconcussive and concussive blows on a regular basis. Are there any documented cases of someone who just played to a through high school developing CTE, or through college for that matter?

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