Football: The Safest Sport?

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LanceSterling
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Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by LanceSterling » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:03 am

Everything that you’ve heard about football is wrong. “More kids died getting struck by lightning on football fields last season than died getting struck by other players,” Daniel J. Flynn writes in his latest book, The War On Football: Saving America’s Game.

By way of contrast, Flynn notes that:

“Bicycling kills about seven hundred Americans every year;
“Skateboarders suffered forty-two deaths in 2011; and
“Skiing/Snowboarding on American mountains results in about forty-two deaths per season.”

http://www.academia.org/football-the-safest-sport/

Come from Accuracy in Academia site, never heard of before - the two words seem mutually exclusive.

Tenacious
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by Tenacious » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:45 am

Guess I would rather be struck by lightening than live a long term disability, concussed, life that will haunt me forever as depicted in the latest movie Frontline. Most of us, including the author who only played his HS sophomore year, will never know the repercussions because we didn't play against 11 of the best of the best at the highest level. However, some of us who played competitively in HS and college have lingering injuries from our younger days that impact our every day life for the next 60 years - knee, back, head, hair loss (oops-had to stick that one in). Was it worth it? I'll take this over a quick death like a lightening strike. But the sad part is, biking is one of the only fitness programs I can manage due to the glory days. I still average 24 mph to stay competitive :).

Football is no longer a sport at any level, except flag. It is now a business which attracts $'s and great athletes who are not yet mature enough in pop warner, HS and most college to make the decision on the long-term risks. Business you ask??? Why is it now players want to be paid in college? I stopped watching NFL because it doesn't feel any different than NASCAR, or WWF. It is shock over strategy - ask that Jets coach.

Also, it is interesting how ESPN has pulled out of the Frontline endorsements due to pressure by the NFL. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/24/sport ... uries&_r=0

Luca
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by Luca » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:14 am

Sad but true, Tenacious.

When you talk about the risks inherent in football it's not death on the field that you're concerned about. It's the lousy knees, long-term neck injuries, the worry about frequent concussions etc. Lance has a point that many of the other sports we consider harmless are far from it. Soccer, for instance.

But you are right about the change in the ethics of the game. The changes have occurred over many years and are so gradual that most people can't even appreciate them. I know that I've completely lost interest in professional football. It's become part of the entertainment industry appealing to the lowest common denominator.

High school football remains the best level of football but even there in some programs the entire purpose seems to have been lost. Fourteen years ago most posters on these boards were similarly concerned about the evolution. Now the prevailing wisdom is that it's all survival of the fittest, do what you need to do to win, life-is-tough-so-get-used-to-it, the best available transfer wins and screw the four-year student-athlete, man up, etc. etc.

Sometimes I feel like I'm watching the sports version of "Gone with the Wind." .........Luca

avonbarksdale
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by avonbarksdale » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:03 am

Its funny how people are treating this issue like it is still news."Frontline"? Try backline - HBO covered off the significant findings over the last 6 years. I think we are all on-board now, significant head trauma and repeated head trauma can lead to a whole host of negative results for football participants.

We do a lot of things that are detrimental to our overall long-term mental physical health, including:
Fight in wars
Play almost any other sport
Go through the aging process
Drink booze
Use pharmaceutical and illegal drugs

Football happens to be the best sport out there, it reveals and instills some great qualities in the people that play the game. I have and my kids will LIVE their lives accepting the inherent risks life and football present. Last I checked death remains undefeated over time.

I am happy that the risks associated with football are more fully understood. It was needed. The sport is trying to regulate to mitigate risk increasing behaviors. For the media and people to keep whining about the risk is simply annoying at this point. Get over it - if you don't want to play or have your kids play - don't play. But please, please shut up.

MDDad
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by MDDad » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:19 am

1. I think the title of the article must be rhetorical, because we all know intuitively that football is not the safest sport.

2. I agree that lasting effects from injuries rather than immediate death are the greatest risks associated with football (and most other sports).

3. Telling us the number of people that died skiing or skateboarding is meaningless without telling us how many people participate in those activities. I suspect it's much higher than the numbers that play football, and it includes people much younger, older and less physically fit than football players.

4. I had an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon two weeks ago for some progressive shoulder pain I'm having. We got to talking about sports injuries, and he told me the strangest one he could remember was a patient who tore his rotator cuff throwing darts in a pub. I guess all sports, no matter how sedentary, have some inherent risk.

bbfan1
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by bbfan1 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:26 am

Luca - I agree with most of what you are saying, but let's bust apart safety of the game with the BS attitude instilled by so many parents (particularly in South OC) that has led to kids transferring at the drop of a hat.

It's a shame that just now everyone is overreacting to the risks of the game when there has been so much improvement over the last several years in mitigating this risk. Sports medicine and nutrition have improved as well, resulting in significant improvement in quality of life after football. All us 50+ guys who are hobbling around probably got pain medication and cortisone back in the day and did not get rehab in any capacity. I recall chatting with an ex NFL guy who told me stories of trainers walking around with plates of pills before games, doctors with needles shooting up players, etc. It's no wonder that generation of football players is physically limited. To see Adrian Peterson come back from a major knee injury to 100% would not have happened 10 years ago. Add to that the football steroid era and you have a very large batch of people with long lasting problems. It would be interesting to see how quality of life is for kids leaving college today (not the NFL guys).

I, for one, think the sport is going in the right direction from a safety standpoint and I don't believe it will compromise the excitement of the game. Change doesn't happen overnight. When I see a vicious hit today I generally cringe, where in the past I was excited by it.

As for the death march that high school football is on, there needs to be some better reality dropped on parents and kids regarding chances of D1 scholarships. I wish the CIF would grow a pair and shut down this transfer BS. Let kids transfer but lock them out for a year (no more local "relocation"), no crossing school boundaries, etc. But that's for another thread...

Luca
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by Luca » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:29 pm

Good points, also. There are a lot of issues involved.

On the positive side, medical care is significantly better. MRIs are better, sports medicine training is better, physical therapy is better, the equipment is better.

The rules are getting smarter. You can't eliminate contact in the game, but you can eliminate the gratuitous hits: the unnecessary shots on wide receivers crossing the middle, the head-to-head contact (to a degree), the unnecessary contact well away from the ball, etc. (But there is an unavoidable risk to knees and to necks that commonly leave long-term problems.)

The coaching is getting better and there's more recognition and acknowledgment of superior techniques for tackling. If you are like me, you were always taught to hit with the head and "slide off" (yeah, right). My God, we used to hit the sled headfirst and "slide off". I remember given myself a concussion in high school hitting a heavy bag headfirst.


On the negative side is the encroaching thug mentality part of the game, most prominently in the NFL but seeming to filter down. The chest thumping, finger-pointing, faux intimidation, cheap shotting etc. etc.

And part of the risk is the fact that players are so much bigger and faster and stronger than in years past. Better nutrition, year-round training, better weightlifting programs, better skills training and you've got players that are far more likely to injure each other than even 20 years ago. I was a reasonably good offensive tackle many years ago and I couldn't have come close to stopping my high school DE son even in my best years. Too damn strong and too damn fast.

The game is a risk. More so than most, but less than others. As a parent and a player you have to make a choice....................Luca

MDDad
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by MDDad » Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:09 pm

Luca wrote:I remember given myself a concussion in high school hitting a heavy bag headfirst.
That helps explain a lot.

Luca
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by Luca » Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:32 pm

Sigh........

I toss pearls before swine........

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ARF
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by ARF » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:53 pm

Luca wrote:

"I was a reasonably good offensive tackle many years ago and I couldn't have come close to stopping my high school DE son even in my best years. Too damn strong and too damn fast."
You never would have stood a chance Luca. Not surprising since your son later served in an Army Ranger Battalion. RANGERS LEAD THE WAY!

Arf

Old School
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by Old School » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:03 am

Lets stop pretending....

Football is a gladiator sport. One can impose a bunch of rules but in the end if you are not willing to be a gladiator one should not play. A parent and player must weigh the pro's and cons....Move on if not for you.

If Boxing and MMA are not outlawed then football wont be, much of what the NFL does is not because they care about the players as people, they just want to keep the performers around etc...
A few tweaks of the rules and best equipment is what is needed. This watering down and leaving the referee to make such tough calls is not going to work. I think for the most part you wont see a lot of change other than when a guy is defenseless. I have spoke to many HS and college refs.

I think we have gone far enough on the rules, and the risk are being ID pretty well...
There should be an OC Connect Trinity Board...

Luca
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by Luca » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:58 am

Completely correct, Old School. It's important to acknowledge what risks there and take steps to minimize them, but don't kid yourself that this is ever going to be a safe endeavor. It's more than counterbalanced in my opinion by the enormous benefits this particular game yields in terms of work ethic, loyalty, teamwork, physical toughness, long-term relationships etc. I would hate to see elements of let's-play-nice PC work their way into the game.

However, I would like to see a new rule regarding unnecessary contact far from the play that has no affect on the outcome, because I think the gratuitous attempts at intimidation tend to reinforce the thuggish behavior of the game.........Luca

Old School
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by Old School » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:10 pm

I agree Luca, essentially what we are talking about is cheap shots. Cheap shots are not part of any sport and what we remember as a fan are the great tackles, nice runs etc...so I am all for cleaning up cheap shots.


I was with a group of college refs and they just rolled their eyes in this topic. They could not tell me what or how they would going to call "leading with your head". Just wait in college when a FB goes through the line and drops his head into a FS coming up and gets the best of him. That is a penalty by rule, but will it get called. In college the Player is ejected, not 15 yards like HS.

The one ref in the group said "when I see it I will know it" if it was not a necessary hit and a guy was just trying to hurt someone. Other than that, my flag stays in my pocket.

The real focus to reduce the long term effects should be address in a multiple fronts

Equipment: Create Standards of the type and rating of a helmet/pads etc a kid has to wear. VT did a study of five brands of approved helmets and the variance was huge ....
Practice: Limit Hitting, Only allow full gear some many days and full contact drills for a certain amount of time
Education: Teach the use of the shoulder, if you tackle a guy and can not see him it was the wrong technique

A multi-prong approach will reduce the injuries but in the end the game will still be for Gladiators, so let not pretend people will get hurt and it is a trade off as you described.
There should be an OC Connect Trinity Board...

THETRUTH
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by THETRUTH » Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:28 am

the NFL is going to settle a lawsuit on concussions at $765 million, you know a lot! Lance.

THETRUTH
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by THETRUTH » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:33 am

no comments Lance, I mean 765 Million is a lot and has a meaning?

RedFred
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by RedFred » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:47 am

The referees will never be able to consistently enforce the new rule. Look at the cover of today's Register sports page, #42 for the Trojans, crown of the helmet straight to the facemask of the QB, violence sells.

THETRUTH
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Re: Football: The Safest Sport?

Post by THETRUTH » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:57 pm

rules are rules

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