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Sports Authority

Pride: Don’t destroy football in the name of safety

| Tuesday, December 4, 2018

One area I feel very passionate about is head injuries in football.

With the recent surge of information and knowledge about the significance of repeated head injuries in football, there has almost been a mass scare of what to do about this issue. While the idea of concussions and CTE are very real and have major consequences, I feel some of the specific rules the NFL has created to prevent concussions are dramatizing the game and taking money from players because of what it deems illegal hits. The NFL has no right to do so.

The best part of turning on a football game is the brutal hits laid from one team to the other. The physicality of the sport is what makes it so popular. With the new information on brain damage being caused by playing football, the sport has attempted to become less violent and so much more regulated, and it is changing the essence of the game.

I have played football my entire life. I have seen great hitting technique, and I have seen the worst of it. The issue that must be addressed is the technique. Instead, the NFL is doing things like over-exaggerating the hits against a quarterback or focusing solely on the crown of the helmet.

Now, not everything about the new rules is bad. I would rather changes be made than to continue to let former players suffer, but there comes a point where the “targeting” rule is so far-fetched and out of line that it ruins the game. New technology is also being patented to help with brain trauma from vicious hits to the helmet area. While I like where our technology will go to find a solution to the issue, I do not believe that making football a 7-on-7 passing league game will be effective. Taking out hitting will destroy the game. If every big hit has to be reviewed, fans will stop tuning in and going to an overly-refereed game of football.

Football has changed so many lives, and I am happy that player safety has become paramount, but my main concern is that it is going a little overboard and getting to a point where defensive players cannot truly play the game. In my opinion, the issue mainly stems from how one would handle the offensive and defensive lines and how they fight in the trenches each play. The only remedy to this issue would be new technology in helmets and ways to protect the neck and head — not targeting calls or phantom roughing-the-passer calls.

I love the game of football, and when played correctly I believe no other game is like football. To play football correctly, the game must be taught correctly, and adequate equipment must be distributed to help with overall protection. Allowing the referees to impact the game in this way is getting far away from the issue, and instead is creating an even bigger problem moving forward. Making the game into a passing league and not allowing football players to play football would be a disservice to the game. So, while head injuries are such a scary part of football and sports, to destroy the game so many people love would be even worse.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Troy Pride Jr.

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