Over the past several years, it’s become apparent that there is a serious problem with the game of football and head injuries. So much so that doctors have discovered that concussions as well as constant hits to the head can lead to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
CTE is a degenerative brain disease that is often found in athletes, military veterans, and other people that have experienced repeated trauma to the head.
CTE occurs when a protein called Tau forms clumps throughout a persons brain. It then spreads and kills off brain cells. It can lead to violent mood swings, headaches and memory loss.
In order to limit the amount of hits to the head that football players suffer, the Canadian Football League (CFL) has banned tackling during practices, according to Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation magazine and host of “The Edge of Sports” podcast via WNYC.
Instead the CFL teams will only practice tackling on tackling dummies and not one another. They’re also conducting non-contact drills.
Zirin compared football to a cigarette, and said that you can make one with less tar and a larger filter, but it’s still going to harm you. This is a great comparison because no matter what head injuries in football will always occur as long as there are helmets and people hitting their heads against one another.
Zirin said that the older players in the CFL are fine with the new rules, but the younger guys want to prove themselves and aren’t crazy about it, since they dream of playing in the NFL one day.
I think this is a great idea by the CFL, but it’s only putting a band aid on a major problem that will never go away within the game of football.
There really are only two ways to truly help players stay safe. The first thing would be to remove all equipment, because players would then not be inclined to launch themselves into one another head first.
The other option would be to play flag football. Now of course you could still suffer a concussion in either format, but the key is that players wouldn’t be bashing their heads against one another on a constant basis.
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