Last week, we discussed brain injuries in high school football. Now, with the Super Bowl approaching, more media outlets — and football players — are taking up the topic. In a recent New York Times story, one professional football player, Baltimore Ravens’ safety Bernard Pollard, even went so far as to say he would not let his son play football because of the risk of brain injury.
“We want our kids to have things better than us,” he said, “You’re going to have concussions. You’re going to have broken bones. That’s going to happen. But I think for the most part, we know what we signed up for,” he said, stating that he did not want his son to sign up for those injuries.
He believes, as do some other players, that the NFL will need to close up shop 30 years from now because of the dangers of the sport. President Obama agrees that football is too dangerous and believes the sport will need to change (gradually) to reduce the violence.
Meanwhile, the extent of damage caused by even mild head injuries has become clear in recent years, causing 4,000 former NFL players to bring a lawsuit against the NFL. They claim the NFL knew, and failed to share with players, that smaller knocks to the head can lead to permanent brain damage.
For now, we can watch the Super Bowl knowing that some changes have been put in place to protect Quarterbacks and other offensive players from serious hits. Still, we can expect many big hits on Sunday as the Ravens and 49ers bring their all in a fight to the top.
Source: The New York Times, “At Media Day, Spotlight on Head Injuries Grows,” Benjamin Hoffman, Jan. 29, 2013