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Saturday, September 1, 2012

How embarrassing is Duck football?

According to the Wall Street Journal, as embarrassing as USC.

Comments (9)

Perhaps a little off topic, but the football player's health beyond their playing days is important.


Football is a sport, not a war.

I write that as a former small college football player, who played from Pop Warner through college, 14 years in all, and 11 alumni games after college (I called them "one game seasons" and I played every time the game was held).

And, I had the typical attitude: Hit your opponent as hard as you could, but legally within the rules. I did not wish to hurt my opponents, but did want to "take away their 'will to win'".

With that, small college was more like high school in size and strength, at least when I played (even small college is getting pretty big & strong these days).

So, it seems the concussions are getting out of control.

During the time I played, governoring bodies had changed the rules to outlaw "spearing", using your head as a weapon, and, indeed, the coaches did instruct players on the appropriate & safer technique (although habits die hard).

It seems high time to revisit this issue due to the proliferation of concussions and the resulting potential for permanent brain damage.

A sport is played for fun (and in Big Time college [possible pro career as remote as that is for most college players] and pro football for money).

Head gear improved greatly during my playing days, which allowed for more protection, but also encouraged harder hitting and increased the chance of injury (I worked the "neck machine" on a regular basis, as much as my bench press for safety reasons, I didn't want a broken neck). But now, the size, strength, and speed of players have exceeded the ability of better equipment to protect the players.

There must be study and then rule changes to decrease the use of the head as a battering ram. I can't say what rule changes those would be, but as a sport and not a war, it seems it is encumbent on the governoring bodies to look at this.

You can't ask players not to be as big, strong, and fast as possible, but you can change the rules for technique to minimize the chance of dramatic injury and long-term chronic injury to the brain.

Originally, the head was not used as a weapon (at least generally), but with plastic helmets, that changed.

Some how, football has to decrease the "head as a weapon" attitude and technique, even more than has already been done in the past.

I know fans, myself, included, want to see a hard fought and hard hitting game. But football did fine as a spectator sport when the head was not used as a weapon.

(No, I don't want to go back to leather helmets or anything like that.)

But Football should not be a "gladiator sport" and long-term brain damage as a result of playing college football or pro (high school is generally safer, but good habits are formed at that time) is not an acceptable "price to pay".

Again, I don't have the answers, here, and I don't want to diminish the thrill of the game of football for players or fans, alike, but it seems to me, there can be a style of play which is great excitement to play & watch which also recognizes it is a sport and not a "gladiator contest" where safety (yes, injuries will happen, it's part of the game), but long-term injuries to the brain are minimized.

Perhaps, I'm going overboard, but if this issue is not dealt with, now, more strident calls will come along later (or law suits like in the NFL) which will diminish the game (I seriously doubt the game would ever be banned).

Always better to be ahead of the curve, than to let "football haters" take down the sport after a lengthy failure to address the issue.

While football is a violent, collision sport, it also can be a beautiful game of both physical and mental competition that thrills the nation.

Football is the National Pastime (replacing baseball in my opinion), let's keep it that way.

By addressing this issue.

Good comment. One story is about Dave Duerson. He was a hero on the field and suffered brain damage from the hits. When he found himself getting violent with his family he shot himself in the chest and donated his brain to science. The dissection is here. http://lockerz.com/u/streetknowledge.9817/decalz/8857824/video_former_nfl_star_dave_duerson_b

I remember a post where we talked about college athletes drawing resources away from students. One name that was thrown around was De'Anthony Thomas. I've got to say I love this kid. He came up from Crenshaw High School and to me, he's the Miles Davis of college football.
However, I did go along with the notion that he was just here to play football and run track for a few years before heading to the NFL. So, I think I owe him an apology after reading that his GPA this Spring was 4.0.
DAT can carry a course load along with a football.

UO Matters,

Thank you for the video link. Tough to watch, but brain damage was evident.

I'll acknowledge it is pro football where the danger is highest because of years played and the repeated head hitting and undiagnosed concussions and because they are the biggest, strongest, and fastest. Yes, they get paid big money for apparently big risks (and I do aknowledge 'assumption of the risk'), still I am concerned for even pro athetes' long-term health.

But four years of Big Time college football I suspect takes its toll, as well.

They must not consider $70,000 for a private coach bathroom to be embarrassing at the Tree.

Here is a link to Popular Science Magazine.


The third high school student in the article has invented a concussion detector that is fitted in a football helmet. It releases dye when the helmet is hit hard enough to cause a concussion.

By the way, on the second page of the article is the invention by a Sunset High School student, Naomi Shah, who invented an interesting biofilter.

Anybody able to figure out how the WSJ rated Penn State? I don't recognize their logo.

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