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Get rid of football helmets (link)

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by upstater1, Nov 13, 2009.

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  1. upstater1

    upstater1 Pro Bowl Player

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    Is It Time to Retire the Football Helmet? - WSJ.com

    One part of the article pertains to the argument about form tackles and facemasks in the Chung fine thread:

     
  2. spacecrime

    spacecrime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    This article should be in The Onion or Brushback.

    Do they really think there would be fewer head injuries without helmets? Have they ever watched a football game?

    Do they really think that if helmets are removed, people will tackle gently and that fringe players will not fly down the field on kickoff returns.

    No helmets will work when blocking and tackling are penalties, and players wear flags loosely attached to their belts.

    Next up: removing air bags and seat belts from cars will save lives because people will drive more carefully knowing they have no protection.
     
  3. lostjumper

    lostjumper Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I firmly believe he's right. I've recently had an opportunity to watch a few rugby matches, and they rarely have head injuries because they don't have helmets. They don't lead with their heads, they make good body tackles. While they do suffer injuries from an occasional knee to the head, I think head injuries, and possibly injuries in general would go down if football.l players didn't wear helmets. All of those flying tackles where football players lead with their heads would end.

    It's funny that you bring this up, because I've been thinking about it for a couple of weeks.
     
  4. lostjumper

    lostjumper Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Your ignorance is incredible. Go watch a full rugby match before you comment on something you obviously know nothing about. :rolleyes:
     
  5. Tunescribe

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    In the distant future, electromagnetic forcefields around heads and joints will replace helmets and pads. The injuries players suffer today will be a thing of the past. Men will play the game through their forties breaking all records, while guys like Junior Seau will be considered in the prime of their career thanks to further advancements in training, nutrition and sports medicine.
     
  6. Pujo

    Pujo Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I've never watched rugby, but do they have a similar concept to offensive & defensive lines? That's where it seems most head injuries would happen if they got rid of helmets, not during open-field tackles.
     
  7. JSn

    JSn Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Actually, that's not all that crazy. If joint braces that stop hyper-extension and mouthguards that stop concussions become better engineered, I think natural loss of speed will be the only thing stopping the "magic number" at various positions from being blown away.
     
  8. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    :Maybe getting rid of helmets is too big a step, however there have been other ideas over the years in the same vein. First what about the possibility of getting rid of the FACEMASK. Yes you'd have a few more broken noses, but far fewer concussions, because players would be more likely to to tackle with their heads up.

    Another idea would be to change to a "soft" helmet. Today's helmets are made with superhard plastics. If the helmet were made from a more flexible material, it would cause less damage.
     
  9. cartmen

    cartmen Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    This is stupid for 2 reasons:
    1. NFL and football in general is a heck of a lot faster than Rugby and the athletes are roughly the same size and in most cases they are bigger than rugby.

    2 Rugby is far more fluid the game never stops there are no downs to speak of it is all scrums and there are rarely forward passes. The impact you recieve from the snap of the ball is 10 times worse than what happens in a scrum. Also there are no blitzes in rugby. This argument is flawed more than this but these are the 2 big ones that come to mind
     
  10. ctpatsfan77

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    :eek:

    July 1, 2030

    (ROOTERS) In a stunning announcement, 60-year-old Brett Favre has decided to un-retire for the 15th time, this time to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. . . .
     
  11. spacecrime

    spacecrime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Grow up. Most people grow out of "You are ignorant because you don't agree with me" line of discussion by the time they hit third grade.

    I said that injuries would not be eliminated by removing helmets. And I stand by that. There will, IMO, be more head injuries than there are now.

    If you think that only an ignorant person would say that, good for you.

    Rugby isn't football, btw. Neither is soccer.

    Different situations, different plays. How many Rubgy players top 350 pounds? Do you have any idea how much beef is pounding each other of an NFL fourth and goal from the one-inch line?
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2009
  12. jmt57

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    I wouldn't go so far as to say get rid of helmets altogether, but I would suggest getting rid of the helmet currently being used. I've felt for a long time that the current safety equipment - specifically the helmet, and to a lesser extent shoulder pads - causes nearly as many injuries as it prevents. Because of it being made of a super-hard exterior, the equipment is used by many players as a weapon to hurt their opponent. To me the logical alternative would be helmet and pads designed with a softer exterior, for starters. Then include something to cushion the blow; perhaps similar to shock absorbers, or maybe with some type of gel pack inside.

    Forget about the current helmet and shoulder pads; design something completely new. If it turns out to have a completely different appearance, so be it. Once that new equipment is in place you'll see better tackling technique because leading with your head is not going to inflict any pain on your opponent.
     
  13. State

    State In the Starting Line-Up

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    I agree. There would probably be fewer injuries over time, but the adjustment could be gruesome as tacklers have long been taught to lead with their heads. Habits are hard to break.

    Like this: YouTube - Willis McGahee Gets "Jacked Up" By Ryan Clark...HD Quality...Hardest Hit Ever!!!

    BTW, you first sentence reminds me of some of the posters in the politics section at patsfans.com. Disagree with me? Go back to the neo-Nazi forums. Your point is refreshing.
     
  14. letekro

    letekro In the Starting Line-Up

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    That hit is a good example of the helmet causing more damage than it prevents.
     
  15. MassPats38

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    The article raises a point common in martial arts sparring while wearing pads that the wearer will learn to fight in a manner that assumes the presence of protective gear and thus be subject to injuries when not wearing that gear. In short, you assume you will always have an extra layer of protection and act accordingly. As such, train without the gear and you condition yourself to protect vulnerabilities at all times and thereby reduce the likelihood of injury.

    It is a nice thought generally, but the nature of football is such that the gear is required. First, unlike rugby, football is played in quick all or nothing bursts. The game is played in stops and starts lasting a few seconds, thus players go full tilt throwing size, strength and speed well above the human norm in a relatively small area of the field into collisions with other players applying relatively equal size strength and speed in the opposite direction. As anyone who has played football and rugby will likely tell you, it is a little strange that a tackle does not necessarily end a play in rugby and the game frequently keeps going. Second, even rugby, involving on the average smaller players better conditioned for an endurance game, has its problems with concussions.

    Players in the NFL get paid the big bucks to deliver punishing hits. Oftentimes, the person with the concussion (e.g., Troy Aikman and Steve Young) is the person hit, not the one doing the hitting. If that is the case and you take the helmets off, then the premise of the article is right - you will reduce the number of players suffering from degenerative brain conditions resulting from head injuries. Instead of concussions, you will have immediate realization of injuries from fractures and hemorrhaging and deaths. It doesn't take much to die from a head injury, and these players have the size, strength and speed to kill another human being who doesn't see the hit coming.

    I would disagree with the premise of the article. Football is not flag football. Take away the contact and intensity and the game is not the same. There will always be trade-offs with the use of protective gear, but in this case you would simply be trading one form of injury for another.

    And I do agree with you, jmt57. The current version of the football helmet has run its course and can and should be replaced for a better designed version.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2009
  16. olschool

    olschool Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Been there...Done that !
     

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  17. Deus Irae

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    Football helmets are like hockey helmets and facemasks. They protect against some injuries and lead to others. I've got no problem with that, although I would hope that a cost/benefit analysis on the issue regarding player health is performed frequently. However, the notion that you can't play football without a helmet, or that players won't adjust how they play, is absurd.
     
  18. Palm Beach Pats Fan

    Palm Beach Pats Fan In the Starting Line-Up

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    A great many football concussions are due to the (helmet & head) slamming into the ground or the (helmet & head) accidentally striking a knee or thigh in a pileup.

    Those concussions have everything to do with the violence of the collisions and density of bodies when gang-tacking is going on. They have nothing to do with the concussed person leading with the helmet

    Those types of injuries would be exponentially worse with no helmet protection, obviously.
     
  19. upstater1

    upstater1 Pro Bowl Player

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    Yes, they do, and in fact that is where rugby head injuries occur.

    In fact, the equivalent of a football OL center is a "hooker" in rugby, and part of the game there is to learn which part of your head is the hardest so that you can headbutt your opponent.

    I posted the article more for my jab at the "classic form tackle" argument than anything else.

    It really is an impossible argument to make on both sides. In the first year of removing helmets, there'd be bloodied bodies all over the field until a different form of tackling caught on.

    I played both football and rugby so I do have a good sense of the differences, and I know rugby players are taught to tackle differently. We were always taught to tackle on the side of the body away from the runner's direction. So, you always land on top of the runner, instead of underneath the runner, as I was taught in football. In football, I was taught to bring the runner down with my neck and shoulder, and tackling drills resulted in a thigh or leg landing on my neck and shoulder. In rugby it's the direct opposite.

    But these two different tackling methods can't be seen outside the context of the game. In rugby you rarely get a direct hit on the runner because, one, there is so much passing, and two, there's no blocking, which means players mark their opponent and try to stay in the action as much as possible.

    Let me give you an example of what happens to a bunch of former football players who take up rugby. We were all around 22-25 in age, former football players, we had played rugby for a couple years in the USA. We took a tour of Scotland and played Scottish teams, and all the Scots were smaller than us. Our backs were bigger than the Scottish pack. The match started and we were crushing the Scots with hard tackles all over the field. The Scots reported that they had never been hit so hard in all their years of playing. The scoreboard showed a different story. I remember the first game was a blowout, 40 or 50 odd points to 6 (this was back in the day when a try was worth 4 points and a kick worth 2). While we were tackling the runners harder than they had been hit before, the Scots were getting the ball out, stringing it down the line, and popping big runs for points. When you tackle a rugby player hard American style, you take him out of the play--but you also take yourself out of the play. If the ball gets out to the wing (as it will do in rugby when the defenders are on the ground after hard tackles) the offense will score easily after overlaps. This means that in rugby the idea is to get your opponent down in such a way that will allow you--the tackler--to pop up immediately and chase the ball down the line. if you're tackling hard, you are doing your team a disservice.

    It is literally impossible to say what would happen if they went to no helmets or padded helmets in the NFL. You'd also need to get rid of shoulder pads.

    I would try it on a semi-pro level, perhaps bring back the padded leatherheads to begin with.

    There is something to be said about the article though. Before facemasks, there was much less high sticking in hockey. Equipment allows players to play differently. Hockey is proof of this.

    Maybe they should just really get rid of HGH and steroids by testing all players weekly.
     
  20. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Do you really think, on a 4th and 1 where you need a TD, not having a helmet is going to stop the players from having a collision with enough force to move an airplane? I say not. I say after that 4th and 1 you are probably carting two players to the morgue with fractured skulls.
     
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