[Football] & Helmets

A comedian once said that helmets will be required by law in all automobiles when they can be worn without messing up a woman’s hairdo. It is only humorous because there is an element of truth in it.

Some say it is because safety first that we have an overabundance of safety regs. That is simply not true. If it were truly safety first, we would drive autos that weighed 3 or 4 times as much at 20 mph. And, of course, we would all wear helmets.

The fact of the matter is that we are always compromising with safety. I rode my bicycle many miles, many hours. At that time, they didn’t even sell bicycle helmets. Fortunately for me, I survived all my accidents. Then again, unless I was going downhill, I couldn’t pedal much over 20 mph. With the 15 speeds these days, 50 and 60 mph is manageable. Certainly, at such speeds, it is certainly a good idea to wear helmets as well as other safety equipment. Rubbing a knee or elbow on asphalt at 60 mph could cause some serious abrasions.

After some time in football of no brain injuries, I noticed in the news that there was one recently. If I heard the news correctly, a quarterback had his head slammed against ground. He had pads and a helmet but but the injury apparently was still severe.

So, just how much more do we armor the players? How much more do we alter the rules of the game to protect the players?

The station I was watching suggested foam pads on the outside of the helmets. Certainly, one pad on the back of this helmet would have decreased the injury, might have even prevented it.

The station’s reporter said they use the pads in practice already and suggested maybe they use them during games.

The immediate question that comes to mind is, why not? Some of it might be pride. There is certainly some valid concern about weighing down the head with equipment rarely needed. Personally, I don’t know the proper compromise.

Of course, every time there’s an injury, we are reminded of the dangers. Every time there is a missed play, we are reminded that every piece of armor slows us…ever-so-slightly. In games of inches and seconds, the extra padding might be making a difference.

Personally, I would think, at the least, the players should have a choice. Perhaps, they should even be encouraged. It is not just a matter of cost. It is more important than the entertainment of sports.

To be sure sure, one very light piece of foam could have saved the loss of a quarterback, perhaps thousands of dollars for medical expenses and, perhaps, just maybe a man’s life.

On the other hand, let’s not make the players play from within big plastic bubbles. Remember, safety really is a compromise.

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