Saving Pro Football

More

The Times has an interesting discussion up on the possibilities for making pro football safe for the human brain. After reading Malcolm Gladwell's piece last year, I've come to doubt whether this is actually possible. Most solutions center around reducing the number of hits:


Football needs "hit counts" like youth baseball has "pitch counts." In baseball, all kids are subject to restrictions because some may suffer cumulative injuries to their elbows. Yet in football we've never thought the brain, which is more important than the elbow, could be subject to the same kind of cumulative injury. That is insanity. 

We should limit exposure to brain trauma risks for kids under 18 because they aren't old enough to accept those risks. By doing that, we can significantly reduce the number of hits they will have suffered by the time they get to the pro level (perhaps by 50 percent). It seems to me that by making youth football safer we can most effectively reduce the risk for cumulative brain trauma going forward for pro players.

One thing I wonder about is expanding rosters and accepting that a player isn't supposed to start the whole game. Like what if you had a time limit on exactly how long Ray Lewis was allowed to be on the field?

I don't know. My sense is that we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon About the Toys in Your Cereal Box

The story of an action figure and his reluctant sidekick, who trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In