David wrote:A few things. First, do you know what the new helmet rule is? Helmet-to-helmet impacts are already not permitted. The new rule they’re implementing is not that. This is when players make impact, they’re not allowed to initiate contact with their helmet, which is what every running back does when running into a pile, or when players tackle, or the O and D lineman make contact on the line. It has the potential to dramatically alter the game.
I may have used the wrong statistic to back up my point, but I still don't see how stopping players from butting with their heads isn't a good way to prevent injuries resulting from impacts to the head. And while it may "dramatically alter the game", it won't really change anything - the game is already an arbitrary set of rules providing an environment in which to compete; if you change a rule, you still have that environment and the top-level players competing in it. Adjusting to the new environment might be difficult for some, but that's short-term. The nature of sports is that players are always pushing the envelope, regardless of the envelope.
David wrote:Second, when I asked if you’d rather have sports banned was in response to your “suffering by thousands is not an acceptable price” line. This new helmet rule may have an impact, sure. It also might not, and like I said, will change the way the game is played. And even if it does have a marginal impact , football is built around men running full speed into other men. As long as the game is that, the only way injuries won’t happen is if you ban the game entirely.
I worded that poorly; what I meant was that it isn't ethical to accept preventable suffering as a necessary cost. While there is no way to prevent people from, say, breaking their legs while skiing, there are certainly preventative measures against football injuries - the players literally wear armor, and as you mentioned, there is already a rule against helmet-to-helmet impacts (which I didn't know about - should have done my homework better). The game has evolved over more than a century and will continue to evolve.
David wrote:There are also studies that show it’s not just concussions that may cause brain damage; it’s the repeated hits to the head that happen in football, hockey, soccer even, combat sports, etc that may contribute to it.
Who said that only concussions contribute to CTE, and if someone had, how would expanding the criteria for danger not make the issue in football much more severe?
David wrote:No one is forcing these adults to play the game. They all get full rides in college, which is a lot more than most if they’d like to do something else. If you want to discuss if tackle football should be banned from high schoolers and younger, that’s a different question.
Fourth, I used the anecdote about the former player to convey why people who are responsible for their own lives might want to play the game. You don’t have to disagree with or understand their reasoning, but that’s why they choose to play.
The NFL spent years actively covering up the problem with fraudulent medical studies. The swarm of lawsuits that it has received from players who hold its dishonesty responsible for their injuries shows that they were not able to make fully informed decisions. And I don't see how your point about scholarships works in your favor. "No one is forcing these adults to play the game," but they go to college for free if they do? Force or reward, what's the difference if an incentive that big is involved? These choices are not made in a vacuum.
David wrote:And I hope you’re not suggesting that football players are commiting suicide at a significant rate, because that’s false. In fact, just googling quickly there’s a couple pages that say that the suicide rate is lower for former players than the general population.
No, I was just answering your anecdotal evidence in a stupid way that occured to me while I was working on something else (that I didn't think of it while your post had my full attention shows how stupid it was). The original thought that led to it was that you can't bring this one guy up as a counterpoint to a league-wide issue, but obviously he's representative on some level because everyone in the league has made the choice to be there, but it's a moot point anyway because, as I just mentioned, the issue was actively misrepresented for a long time in the first place, and even with its entrance into the public consciousness, players have substantial incentives to downplay it unrelated to the benefits of the game itself.