Fall will be here soon, and that means football season has come crashing onto the country’s TVs, yards, and stadiums. That’s right, it’s time for the weekly rough and tumble rumble of good ol’ fashioned gridiron. Helmets colliding, pigskins soaring, and bodies bashing. It’s all here.
Football casts a powerful spell on players and fans alike. The game’s appeal is so strong, so compelling that enthusiasts of all stripes—be it on the field, sidelines, bleachers, or the couch—regularly forget the risks into which football puts it players. Safety is crucial to football. Players, coaches, family, and even fans all need to keep the safety question alive if football is going to survive as one America’s great games. College football is a field in which safety needs to be top priority.
College Ball, Helmets, and Head Injuries
Let’s kick this off with the big one: head injuries. If football doesn’t deal with this room’s elephant, the game will soon be endangered species. Helmets, brain trauma, and the football industry’s role in these issues have been featured in the New York Times several times a month for a long time now, and there’s been no indication the buzz is dying down.
As it stands, head injuries are a normal part of football. They don’t need to be. For college players and coaches, this issue needs serious attention. According to personal injury attorneys, head injuries are a common result of negligence. College players suffer head injuries regularly, and the research into university football and TBIs is not in nearly as advanced a state as is similar research into the NFL. What is to be done about student heads, and who should be doing it?
Who’s Responsibility is College Football Safety?
Universities need to look after their players. College is for strengthening minds, not destroying them. At the very least, colleges should look into improved, alternative headgear. Lots of companies are developing new helmet technologies. Some fans might whine about “watering the sport down,” but fans need to respect the entertainers who provide them with so much joy. And after all, baseball fans deal just fine with the different rules in place for college ball, like aluminum bats.
As leaders, coaches have a responsibility to their athletes. Coaches have the respect of their players, and they need it earn in more ways than mere strategic prowess. With power comes responsibility. Players are often loath to defy their coaches’ wishes, so coaches need to stand up for safety if they want things to improve.
Fans, Alumni, and Advertisers
Football generates a lot of revenue and prestige for universities. Because of this, fans, alumni (who are often major donors), and advertisers have a responsibility to take the front lines in the fight against brain injuries. The game won’t change unless the people who pay for it demand that it changes.
The Players Themselves
Players are the victims here, yes, but they are also grown adults who have the strength to make personal decisions. If college football players demanded respect, they could get that respect. A football players’ strike in the name of safety would be unprecedented and powerful.