Safety in the NFL

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This week, the contributors of Skyboxjocks.net have written a series of articles about the safety of football, specifically the huge risk of concussions and brain damage that players are likely to receive playing the game. This has been a hot-button issue recently due to new information being released about the danger of concussions in the game and how damaging they can actually be.

Players, coaches, doctors, and fans have been debating this topic and whether the game of football should be changed to protect players. Football is a game built on physical and mental toughness. That is the spectacle of the game; it is what draws millions of viewers in every Sunday. But is that worth the risk of brain damage that comes from playing the game their whole lives?

In his Week Five press conference on October 9th, Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman was asked about this topic and whether the knowledge of how to tackle safely is in his mind during plays: “You don’t want to lose that step. You can’t stop playing at 100 percent, full-speed, all out. By thinking about these issues — by focusing on the ‘safe’ way to tackle — you’re putting yourself in more danger.” He went on to say that for a lot of players, the rewards of playing in the NFL outweighed the risk of serious injuries.

The NFL and other football leagues have worked hard to prevent concussions by changing rules, creating fines, and teaching how to tackle properly. But these changes raise questions about the future of the sport. Will the game become too safe and lose the violence that attracts players and football fans to the game? Is that physicality of the game worth the brain damage that players may grow to have later in life?

In our editorial of Safety in the NFL, Steve Cameron and Sarah Brennan-Athas go head to head in a discussion about the safety and spectacle of football. The pair also delves into an injury recap around the NFL for the first five weeks of the regular season, along with an analysis of what the injuries mean for each team. Maggie Sheetz zeroes in on Wes Welker and discusses the impact that concussions have had on his career. Meanwhile, Victoria Kanaris steps away from physical health and explores the struggle with mental health that athletes of all ages may endure.

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