After the recent death of former National Football League (NFL) Linebacker Junior Seau, a wave of reports came out about the safety of football players. Seau was yet another former player who took his own life in the years following the end of their careers. And like others, the manner of which he killed himself (preserving the brain) was the point of interest. By keeping the brain intact, scientists are given the opportunity to study effects of concussions, mainly chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Reports came out stating that the NFL needs to do more to protect their players, to try and make sure that their lives do not come to an untimely end. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell responded.
At the NFL Owners Meetings last week, Commissioner Goddell announced that players will now be mandated to wear knee and thigh pads.
Wait. What? All this talk about protecting the players from concussions and CTE, and the only change made is to make them wear knee and thigh pads? Something is rotten in the state of New York.
I know that players are already wearing helmets. I know that there isn’t much more a player could wear to protect their heads. But is the problem really about extra protection via equipment? The NFL should reevaluate officiating standards and create stricter policies for hits in the head. The NFL needs to keep players off the field if there is even a remote chance of them having a concussion. When Colt McCoy was originally cleared to play, only to be diagnosed with a concussion after the game…that’s bad! If there is any thought of whether or not the player has a concussion, they should be removed from the game.
The stories of Seau and other players who have prematurely passed are heartbreaking stories. They effect former teammates, current players, fans, and most importantly, families. The NFL had a chance to step up and start making a difference in the wake of a terrible tragedy. Instead, Commissioner Goodell may have gotten his speech mixed up with a menu at Roscoe’s House of Chicken And Waffles. Knees and thighs, please.