WHAT OTHERS SAY: Make football safer by preventing concussions

Friday, December 20, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST

The scientific study of the brains of several dozen deceased former National Football League players has led to some unsettling discoveries.

Almost all the brains had a disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is caused by repeated head injuries and can lead to depression, dementia and suicide. The first diagnosed case was found in Mike Webster, a former center for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It’s vital to do more research to better understand how the violent sport affects players of all ages — and to act with urgency. Football must be made safer, especially by better protecting players from head injuries. That should include the pee-wee leagues all the way through the high school, college and pro levels.

Doing nothing — which the National Football League did for far too long, paving the way for inaction throughout the sport — is not a viable option.

The Chiefs have been in the concussion-related news recently. This month, five former players filed a lawsuit as part of a bid to see what team officials knew about head injuries.

And the body of former Chief Jovan Belcher was exhumed so his brain could be examined to see whether he suffered from CTE. Belcher killed his girlfriend and then himself in late 2012.

Despite all the brain-related problems in football, some hard-core fans continue to complain about taking drastic moves that could make the sport less violent and thus “ruin” it.

That’s nonsense. Studies into head injuries are absolutely necessary to find ways to prevent them. Given football’s tremendous popularity, that research could help protect millions of young Americans who will play the sport in the future.

Copyright The Kansas City Star. Reprinted with permission.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Michael Williams December 20, 2013 | 9:45 a.m.

By no means am I a physicist. I also do not understand the physics and forces involved in a collision.

But, I do know that living cells can take only so much force before bad things happen. I also know that a heavy object colliding with living cells do more damage than a lighter object at the same velocity. Sumpin' to do with momentum (m x v) or somesuch.

Sooooo, what would happen if weight limits were place on the various positions in football? You can't control the "velocity" part of football (Tweet! 15 yard penalty for running too fast!)......

But you can sure control the "mass" part of football.

What do you think....any merit to this?

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.