Nearly every occupation has risk hazards, whether mental or physical. A police officer could lose his or her life in the line of duty and a janitor could inhale the wrong chemical. A garage man could get his hand trapped while the trash is compacting in the machine of the truck, a businessperson could run the risk of not having a stable home and family life and, heck, nowadays, a teacher could get injured in the classroom. And then there is football, a brutal game of excitement and danger. Again, nearly every occupation has its risk, but compared to most normal careers and jobs, playing football professionally is one of the working environments that is expected to have higher risk hazards, due to the physicality of the game.
For any career path that an individual decides to pursue, one should always count the cost, not always the potential dollars.
There are over 2,000 former NFL players who are filing lawsuits against the NFL because of physical damages—mainly concussions.
To be honest, and with all sincere respect, it is a bunch of bull.
While listening to and reading reports about the NFL caused this and the NFL caused that in regards to injuries, it is completely out of line—and here is why.
Before they entered the league, these former NFL players understood the great possibility of suffering from physical issues during and after their days of playing. The physical blows, which were sustained by these outstanding athletes, were compounded years prior to their days in the NFL.
The cost was counted. Not to be harsh and with all due respect, why should the NFL be totally blamed for the self-allowed bashing of the players, who gave their permission for physical punishment to their bodies as football players?
Other than the great troops who were drafted by the military, have American soldiers who have lost body parts or sustained health and mental issues filed lawsuits against the United States government? Probably not. Before soldiers enlist to serve in the military, they count the costs, especially during time of war. Have miners who work in the mountains and underground not counted the costs as well, knowing that there is a chance of them being caved in?
Former NFL players who sustained long-term injuries and concussions knew that the likelihood of these situations would happen. Stating that the league is totally responsible for these players’ head injuries is wrong. Many of the players filing these lawsuits against the NFL probably sustained injuries prior to entering the league. Are these former NFL players attempting to sue their old coaches spanning from Pop Warner, high school and college?
Nope. This is why their lawsuits against the NFL are a joke. In addition, since no NFL player ever had a gun held to his head to make him play football, it makes the allegations laughable.
In addition, these NFL lawsuits should not be handled or compared to such cases involving lead paint and asbestos claims. Factory workers of years past knew nothing about the effects of these silicate mineral fibers, which can cause serious illnesses like lung cancer and mesothelioma (a cancer sickness that is strongly associated with asbestos).
Lawsuits regarding lead paint issues and asbestos are legitimate cases because the businesses and manufacture companies understood the benefits and affordability of asbestos, while dismissing its dangers.
Consequently, former NFL players did receive bad advice in accordance to sustaining concussions and other injuries, due to lack of information and ignorance. Clearly, each former player’s case should be handled accordingly, and with the new health policies for NFL players, both past and present, there should be no reason why the league cannot aid all health matters for its employees who made the game as players—as they do not have to prove their disability was caused due to playing football.
Unfortunately, the former players who are suing the league are not filing to have just their medical bills paid, but also for themselves, because no one sues totally for the benefit of others—making their allegations more ridiculous.
One of the greatest sportswriters of this generation, Frank Deford, wrote a great piece, as usual, asking how long society will continue to put young men in jeopardy of playing football.
Well, here is the answer—as long as football exists, health risks will always be at hand because the game will continuously evolve.
When rookie nose tackle Dontari Poe, now a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, ran a 4.98 in the 40-yard dash during the 2012 NFL Combine, it was an eye-opener. Not only because it was extraordinary to see a 6’3″, 348-pound interior defensive lineman move that fast, but also because Poe detailed how defenders are beginning to evolve according to what offenses are dictating.
Compared to how society is adapting to the world today, in relation to technology and the economy, to name a few, defensive players must and will evolve to adapt to the offensive rules of the game.
Offense drives the NFL, and the league’s rules favor offensive players. In order for defenses to compete and be effective against offenses, defenders must and will evolve to adapt to offensive systems.
Defenders must get to the quarterbacks quicker and have the stamina to endure the multiple backs they have to face during the course of a contest. Moreover, due to the intelligence of the game of football, defenders must become smarter.
Clearly, if defensive players want to be employed by an organization in the NFL, they must conform to what is required to stop offenses, and these hungry individuals will bring everything they have to be successful.
With these adaptive changes, the physical contact and violence will generally increase. Meaning, the physicality of the game will magnify, which will lead to more health-related issues, including concussions.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith must work together in order to help make the game of football in the NFL safer from this point on, which they have, starting with the new uniforms by Nike.
Even with more padding, Nike’s technology and increased knowledge of the human body through medical innovations, the evolution of players in the NFL will continue to lead to health issues, no matter what, because it is football.
Lastly, to make football—better yet the NFL—safer, eliminate the sport, because the players of today and of the future are only going to get better, faster and stronger.