In case you have not noticed, the football season has started. The Canadian Football League pre-season is underway with games this week. Some of the league’s games will be available on American TV this year. It is a good time to look at the health of the football industry, particularly players because the players put their health on the line every play of their careers. Last month two former National Football League players, Leonard Marshall and Matt Hasselback announced that they were donating their brains following their deaths for research. Marshall, who was a talented player with the New York Giants and part of the 1980s Giants teams, is 55 years old and has problems with short term memory and claims he suffers from erratic behavior. Hasselback seemingly is in good shape at the age of 41.
Football is a rugged profession. The game depends on high impact collisions not contact. One hundred twelve years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt threatened to ban the game in the United States unless rules were implemented to make the game safer after a reported 40 players died from injuries suffered on the field over a two-year period in 1904 and 1905. Marshall and Hasselback seemingly are putting out more than one message here to more than one audience. To the football fan, they are saying the game is rough and dangerous and to parents thinking about signing their children up to play youth football starting at the ages of six, seven or eight, they are telling parents think very carefully about the health of your child playing football. More than 1,800 people from sports and the military are donating their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation which will research brain injuries from sports and the battlefield. Can football become a safer game? That’s a good question which was first brought up in 1905 and still lacks an answer.
Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett is among the 4,500 retired players who has sued the NFL over concussions