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Extra! Extra! Football causes brain damage!
December 19, 2009 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Malcolm Gladwell did an article about this in the New Yorker, but this GQ article shows the opposition the researchers who discovered CTE faced from the NFL.
posted by reenum (61 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
posted by bhnyc at 10:54 AM on December 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Related: Former NFL star Dave Pear is sorry he ever played football. Also, in this lengthy chat with ESPN's Bill Simmons, Gladwell theorizes that NFL-style football could be severely impacted by safety concerns in the years to come:

"A even bigger long-term problem is that I think that more and more parents are going to prevent their kids from playing tackle football, particularly since it's now becoming clear that younger players (adolescents and pre-adolescents) are far more vulnerable to concussions and head injuries than adults. The game is going to die from the ground up."
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:57 AM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it have made sense to use the word concussion in this post?
posted by Frank Grimes at 10:57 AM on December 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


Upon further review, this post could have been a lot better. Metafilter will not be charged a timeout.
posted by tommasz at 11:01 AM on December 19, 2009 [12 favorites]


I think Gladwell is overestimating the ratio at which people value their personal safety to money.

Plus what about ROBOT FOOTBALL Huh!? Did Gladwell Ever think about that?!
posted by delmoi at 11:16 AM on December 19, 2009


Not to mention wrestling. And every other contact sport.
posted by pyrex at 11:21 AM on December 19, 2009


From the article: “Look, there was a seminal study published by the University of Oklahoma two years ago. They put accelerometers, which measure acceleration, in the helmets of University of Oklahoma players. And they documented the g-force. So we know the g-force for a football player being knocked out is about sixty to ninety g’s. To compare, a fighter pilot will pass out at five or six g’s, but that’s over a long period of time. These football g-forces are just a few milliseconds, very brief—boom! And they found that in the open field, the dramatic cases of a receiver getting blindsided is about one hundred g’s. It knocks them out. Very dramatic, everybody sees it. But the linemen? They were actually getting twenty to thirty g’s on every play. Because they start out and they bang heads. Every play.

This is a really interesting post, thanks -- especially the professional denialism of the NFL's doctors. I would have thought they were violating that oath-thingie they take.
posted by Rumple at 11:23 AM on December 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, over at the NHL ...
posted by philip-random at 11:36 AM on December 19, 2009


I happened to catch Mark Schlereth (former Broncos offensive lineman) discussing concussions on a radio show last week, and he said that he either saw stars or fully blacked out in every single pro game he ever played. The matter-of-fact way he said it was pretty jarring, and the host (Colin Cowherd, iirc) was so taken aback that he had him repeat the statement a couple of times.
posted by gimli at 11:36 AM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think Gladwell is overestimating the ratio at which people value their personal safety to money.

More to the point, the ratio at which young boys and men (and more and more women and girls) from disadvantaged backgrounds with no other route to imagined fame and its trappings value their personal safety to money.
posted by philip-random at 11:38 AM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


"A even bigger long-term problem is that I think that more and more parents are going to prevent their kids from playing tackle football, particularly since it's now becoming clear that younger players (adolescents and pre-adolescents) are far more vulnerable to concussions and head injuries than adults. The game is going to die from the ground up."

Yep. My kid is a big guy already; if he wanted to, and was talented at it, I could definitely see him being recruited by the football coaches in middle or high school. But I'm already thinking, the hell with that; plenty of other fun athletic stuff you can do that doesn't cause, you know, brain damage.

Bring on the robot football, I say.
posted by emjaybee at 11:45 AM on December 19, 2009


So pro sports makes athletes crazy. At least they've got a chance. The lifeforms paying $200 for tickets, jerseys, tattoos, New England Patriot yarmulkes are already crazy.
posted by larry_darrell at 11:51 AM on December 19, 2009


Fascinating article. Thanks reenum.

Now I'm going to feel guilty watching the Packers on Sunday.

>90% of the NFL commentators are nothing but yes men but I'd be interested in hearing from Costas, Gumble and DeFord on what this new information could mean to the future of the game.

It's very disturbing.
posted by Bonzai at 11:52 AM on December 19, 2009


>...New England Patriot yarmulkes...

kipPats?
posted by mosk at 11:58 AM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is a common assertion amongst NFL fans - I'm pretty sure I've even heard a few broadcasters repeat it - that getting tackled in the NFL is like running into a brick wall at full speed. Um, no. You wouldn't get up from that even once, let alone multiple times per game. I'm not implying that it's not a brutal game, and in fact I'd say it's long overdue that the long term damage these players suffer is being addressed, but the fact that there are so many armchair enthusiasts who readily believe that a human being can be so tough as to run full speed into a brick wall and jump up smiling over and over would seem to preclude a majority public support.
posted by squeakyfromme at 12:05 PM on December 19, 2009


I think Gladwell is overestimating the ratio at which people value their personal safety to money.

I think Gladwell is overestimating the ratio that people value other's personal safety to their own money.

Let's face it, the people making the really big bucks and not risking their own safety in the slightest are the people in the NFL trying to bury this.
posted by eye of newt at 12:13 PM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


If this is anything like the MeFi football threads of the past, someone will be along shortly to confidently declare that NFL players are wimps for wearing all that protective gear and that soccer has both more serious and more numerous injuries.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:25 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


but the fact that there are so many armchair enthusiasts who readily believe that a human being can be so tough as to run full speed into a brick wall and jump up smiling over and over would seem to preclude a majority public support.

Well no, this is sort of the entire point of the Gladwell article:

"And why was the second concussion—in the game at Utah—so much more serious than the first? It’s not because that hit to the side of the head was especially dramatic; it was that it came after the 76-g blow in warmup, which, in turn, followed the concussion in August, which was itself the consequence of the thirty prior hits that day, and the hits the day before that, and the day before that, and on and on, perhaps back to his high-school playing days."

The real problem, and the Gladwell article addresses this, is that football doesn't really need blows to the head to be football. Unfortunately, for lineman especially, blows to the head an integral part of how the game is played. Make it a penalty and you'll still see football, just not two triceratops going at it, it'd probably look a lot more like sumo wrestling on the line.

Which is to say, it is a major, major change -- fans won't like it, you haven't coached players to use it and it'll make games really, really boring until the instititional knowledge of playing without taking head hits begins to mature and become competitive.

I think the GQ article makes a good point, this will come from the bottom up. Parents will demand no head to head hits and you'll start see high schools adopt these policies, then colleges and so on.

The question, from the NFL standpoint, is how to foster this with all due speed while still maintaining the old way of doing it. Making it hard for researchers is not the answer. The answer is a no-surprises roadmap on how the change will be implemented, with the constant drum beat of "the game will not be different." It really needs to come from the players union, they need to be demanding this, the NFL and owners have no incentive other than to maintain their image.
posted by geoff. at 12:29 PM on December 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


If this is anything like the MeFi football threads of the past, someone will be along shortly to confidently declare that NFL players are wimps for wearing all that protective gear and that soccer has both more serious and more numerous injuries.

Well, but does soccer have as many head injuries?
posted by delmoi at 12:36 PM on December 19, 2009


Let's face it, the people making the really big bucks and not risking their own safety in the slightest are the people in the NFL trying to bury this.

They can't bury it anymore, and they've mostly stopped trying. There's too much evidence now, and the PR is really building. A few years ago, the NFL was giving the standard talking points of "not enough data to conclude..." etc, etc. Now they're being forced to admit that this may be a real problem. As far as I know, no major changes to rules or procedures have been made. But the NFL is now offering research grants (albeit small ones) to specifically study the problem. I know because we applied for one. It's a small step, but it's in the right direction.

Well, but does soccer have as many head injuries?

I haven't personally seen any comparison studies between soccer and football, but there are many papers addressing repetitive minor traumatic brain injuries in soccer. It does occur, and it is an issue.
posted by dephlogisticated at 12:44 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


If this is anything like the MeFi football threads of the past, someone will be along shortly to confidently declare that NFL players are wimps for wearing all that protective gear and that soccer has both more serious and more numerous injuries.


Seems wearing the helmet allows the players to accumulate more brain damage, sounds like they'd be better off with minimal head protection.
posted by selton at 1:35 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


As has been explained to me by players, all the armor in football is so that the players can hit each other harder. A lot harder. If one took away all the armor the sport and kinds of injuries players get would surely change, possibly for the better on balance. For me at least, what makes football interesting is it's complexity, not it's violence.

(I suspect it's similar in Hockey where the armor enables speed and recklessness. Gloves in boxing...)
posted by wobh at 1:38 PM on December 19, 2009


Seems wearing the helmet allows the players to accumulate more brain damage, sounds like they'd be better off with minimal head protection.

If one took away all the armor the sport and kinds of injuries players get would surely change, possibly for the better on balance.


Is It Time to Retire the Football Helmet? New Research Says Small Hits Do Major Damage—and There's Not Much Headgear Can Do About It
posted by Mach5 at 1:58 PM on December 19, 2009


so why is this necessary for football but not for rugby?
posted by krautland at 2:07 PM on December 19, 2009


From what the article says, the damage from a concussion comes from the brain slamming up against the inside of your skull, no helmet can protect you from that, it's the deceleration that's doing it. And if helmet make players think that they're protected but really aren't they'll hit even harder and cause that much more damage.
posted by octothorpe at 2:36 PM on December 19, 2009


The helmet is kind of iconic to the sport at this point, even if they removed any head contact they would probably keep it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:39 PM on December 19, 2009


Seems wearing the helmet allows the players to accumulate more brain damage, sounds like they'd be better off with minimal head protection.

Much the same thing is true of boxing gloves; it's the protective gloves that let boxers hit each other in the face full-force over and over again.
posted by gerryblog at 3:06 PM on December 19, 2009


krautland: “so why is this necessary for football but not for rugby?”

Well - have you ever actually watched American football? Especially if you see it in person, you can see clearly that American football involves more routine slamming and crunching than association football, Australian-rules football, or even rugby. Those sports, especially rugby, involve some rage and brutality, and often reward aggressiveness; but in American football, the violence isn't even particularly aggressive or brutal, it's simply routine and ongoing. On every single play (and plays last an average of, what, 30 seconds?) at least eight players on each side slam into each other, just simply slam into each other in a practiced and standard way which the helmets and gear allow. This is just sort of "part of the game" in American football, and I agree completely that throwing all those pads and helmets on players in this sport allows them to feel as though this isn't actually injurious to anybody.

Plenty of people get hurt in rugby (and other field sports) but that kind of simple slamming into each other isn't as routine or regular.
posted by koeselitz at 3:11 PM on December 19, 2009


Rhomboid: “If this is anything like the MeFi football threads of the past, someone will be along shortly to confidently declare that NFL players are wimps for wearing all that protective gear and that soccer has both more serious and more numerous injuries.”

Well, I was the one arguing that soccer is as injurious as American football last time around, and though that was mostly in reaction to people who seemed to think that soccer is a very soft and non-contact sport, I've thought about it and realized I was being pretty hasty. So: yes, I was wrong, and although American football still bores the trash out of me on its own I have to admit, it is quite dangerous.
posted by koeselitz at 3:14 PM on December 19, 2009


Oh man. The trailer for the movie just wrote itself in my head in about 20 seconds. Chiwetal Ejiofor stars as Bennet Omalu, of course. Open with a football game on TV and generic voiceoever about "Intense action tonight!". Followed by lots of up close and visceral shots of slamming bodies, grunting, heavy breathing. Scenes follow: a player (Mark Walhberg) in the doctor's office-- "I blacked out there ten times tonight, man! I just don't know how I can keep doing this." Evil Doctor in the pay of the NFL, with back to player, fills a hypodermic and says confidentally "You'll be just fine. Just... fine." A letter being opened: benefits denied. Player living in his car, acting crazily. Appeals to lawyer Fitzsimmons (Viggo Mortensen) to help him out; lawyer has his own battle with alchohol. Emotional scene: "I've lost everything to football... everything". The idealistic Bennet Omalu in the autopsy room, staining slides looking in microscopes, voice over: "I've never seen this kind of brain damage before." Establishing shots of Omalu born during Nigerian army bombardment, an older Omalu heading to the US for medical training; his father gives him encouraging words of wisdom about always standing up for the truth, etc. Scenes with Omalu dealing with various kinds of NFL intimidation, his concerned wife (Halle Berry), bedtime conversations where Omalu reiterates how he has to stand up for the truth, etc. Omalu goes to church and prays, Omalu gets a threatening letter at work, dramatic scenes where he publishes his first article and his car starts being followed by faceless goons, Omalu cutting up brains in his living room while his wife entreats him to come to bed, it's two in the morning. Enter Julian Bailes (George Clooney) a hotshot scientist with a taste for the high life. His girlfriend could be Rachel McAdams, in a role as a PR person for the NFL-- conflict! The three team up: the religious Omalu and the playboy Bailes along with formerly alcoholic Fitzsimmons fighting the good fight. NFL lawyer greedy owner types walking through hallways talking about how they have to shut them down. Climatic scene where Fitzsimmons makes the pitch of his career-- not only has he joined the struggle on behalf of crazy player (who is crazier and crazier, making for dramatic scenes of craziness) but he has in the process conquered the bottle and his own alcholism, too. Three men... together.... taking on the powers that be. More football scenes. The game goes on... and on... little kids playing touch football, destined for who knows what fate...

Hollywood! Call me.
posted by jokeefe at 3:17 PM on December 19, 2009 [12 favorites]


Also, it's nice to know that I've found the name for my next punk band: Concussing Rats.
posted by koeselitz at 3:21 PM on December 19, 2009


But while these helmets reduced the chances of death on the field... these small collisions may be just as damaging.

You know, it's things like the two statements above that really piddle away your argument.

Anyhow, while I absolutely agree with most of this, I think there are a bunch of medical types who need to maybe bring an engineer on board in the helmet design department. I say this because I've been being beaten with clubs since Reagan's first term in office and can count the number of concussions I've had on one hand. Now admittedly, our heaviest weapons weigh only 12 pounds or so, but they only need to be moving five times as fast as a 300 pound linebacker to have the same kinetic energy. The fact that my old hat now looks like the surface of the moon and has at least two cracks in it due to metal fatigue suggests to me I've been getting hit more than hard enough.

Also, my helmet (with camail) weighs about 20 pounds and the one neck injury I've had came only after pulling something in my neck/shoulder area while unloading a truck and then foolishly throwing on my armour and fighting anyway.

I think you could make some pretty minor changes to the helmet and make butting heads the same thing as spearing and the problem would, more or less, be solved. Saying there's no solution and then asking why the NFL hasn't done something is kind of disingenuous.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:39 PM on December 19, 2009


, I think there are a bunch of medical types who need to maybe bring an engineer on board in the helmet design department.

Let them wear HANS devices, or something similar and more specific to the brain-smacking-skull injuries. That is, if you want to keep CRUNCHING impacts as a big part of the game.
posted by philip-random at 4:04 PM on December 19, 2009


Like Anthropogenic Global Warming, I question the so-called "science" behind the correlation between tau proteins and CTE.

This was all explained succinctly many years ago by professionals such as Howard Cosell and Don Meredith as either:

1. "Shaken up."

2. "Got the wind knocked out of him."
posted by Tube at 4:16 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


While freely admitting this has the potential to look mighty silly, I wonder if a helmet design along the lines of Buzz Lightyear might not be the answer. It would allow free head movement and unimpaired vision, and completely prevent impacts to the cranium. Of course, there would still need to be some sort of bracing to prevent whiplash type injuries of the neck.
posted by John Smallberries at 5:15 PM on December 19, 2009


It may not just be professional football. It may start in high school.

Also, these NFL people, they don't market cigarettes as well, do they?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:30 PM on December 19, 2009


John, it's possible that any helmet might not be sufficient. If the body is moving at X miles/hour and stops immediately, the brain will continue moving at that speed until it is halted by the skull.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:32 PM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is extremely disappointing.
posted by pelham at 6:18 PM on December 19, 2009


If the body is moving at X miles/hour and stops immediately, the brain will continue moving at that speed until it is halted by the skull.

The entire purpose of the helmet is so that the skull doesn't stop immediately. You're forgetting that the helmet stops 'instantly' then the skull moves into the padding of the helmet slowing the skull down slower and reducing the acceleration to the head. I hope that the accelerometers from the study were actually affixed to the players skulls or the head side liner of the helmet. Because if they were attached to the rigid shell of the helmet than the acceleration figures given are pointless because they're not measuring what we're actually interested in. The numbers will correlate to some extent but there isn't going to be a linear relationship between helmet acceleration and head acceleration.
posted by TheJoven at 7:10 PM on December 19, 2009


There's no such thing as an immediate stop - if acceleration is distance/time squared and time equals zero...well, you see what I mean. This is kind of what I was getting at previously. If the outer shell of the helmet is pulling 80 g, the padding would still cause the players head to experience less acceleration, and the cushy bits around their brains will cause their brains to experience less acceleration still.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:39 PM on December 19, 2009


And there's what I get for not using preview. (Your joke about one too many blows to the head here.)
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:40 PM on December 19, 2009


TheJoven: “I hope that the accelerometers from the study were actually affixed to the players skulls or the head side liner of the helmet. Because if they were attached to the rigid shell of the helmet than the acceleration figures given are pointless because they're not measuring what we're actually interested in.”

Well, yes. I too hope that the people who did that study had mastered the blindingly obvious. Yeesh, you may as well say "I hope they did this test with human beings and not chimpanzees playing football," right?
posted by koeselitz at 7:44 PM on December 19, 2009


If the body is moving at X miles/hour and stops immediately, the brain will continue moving at that speed until it is halted by the skull.

Yes, but the idea is creating a helmet to mitigate the effects of this. Enough padding or what have you to absorb the blow, instead of your brain. Kind of like the difference between dropped into my bed and a concrete floor.
posted by jmd82 at 7:48 PM on December 19, 2009


And I really need to learn to refresh my browser before posting. Kinda like Kid Charlemagne.
posted by jmd82 at 7:49 PM on December 19, 2009


And besides, are you seriously implying that the padding in a helmet could truly render negligible the impact of 30 times the force of gravity? I mean, I understand concern that the experiment went well, and I understand wanting to make it clear that helmets are supposed to prevent some of that shock - but is that really the pertinent issue, given that helmets so clearly fail miserably at that job? "Well, yes, Alan, you could say that putting a band-aid over the boy's gushing severed carotid artery is a bit pointless. But to be fair, I should point out that band-aids are intended to cover wounds and soak up some of the excess bleeding, so this is their intended purpose, after all, don't you agree?"
posted by koeselitz at 7:51 PM on December 19, 2009


jmd82: “Yes, but the idea is creating a helmet to mitigate the effects of this. Enough padding or what have you to absorb the blow, instead of your brain. Kind of like the difference between dropped into my bed and a concrete floor.”

Ah yes. Actually, to extend the metaphor to a more realistic scale, the idea is to create a helmet that will protect your head if I drop you from the third story of a building onto concrete, making sure your head hits first. So while you go invent that fancy and oh-so-physically-possible helmet, I'll be over here training my monkeys to play "Giant Steps" on accordions. Since I'm fairly certain I'll finish first, maybe I'll just let you know when I'm done.
posted by koeselitz at 7:54 PM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


This post could be better since the TLA "CTE" made me go WTF till I RTFA.
posted by chairface at 7:59 PM on December 19, 2009


reading that article as a football fan makes me angry and sad. i pray that for people like teddy johnson that some type of hope lies in the future.
posted by lazywhinerkid at 8:05 PM on December 19, 2009


so why is this necessary for football but not for rugby?

The lack of protective armour and helmets makes hits as painful and dangerous to the hitter as they are to the hittee. Thus, one tends to be very careful when tackling an opponent. Plus, you don't want to unnecessarily piss off a guy like the aforementioned Gareth Thomas.

Sadly, helmets -originally designed for concussed players- and shoulder pads are making headway in rugby, leading to the same problems: players hitting harder.
posted by Cobalt at 8:28 PM on December 19, 2009


Jokeefe: No, no, no! It needs to be Djimon Hounsou!!!
posted by Cobalt at 8:31 PM on December 19, 2009


So, naked football. What could go wrong?
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:37 PM on December 19, 2009


Also, it's nice to know that I've found the name for my next punk band: Concussing Rats.

I will say this: I've seen at least one study that involved rats wearing tiny rat-sized football helmelts. No, I'm not kidding; yes, I laughed at it; yes, that makes me a terrible person.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:43 PM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've seen at least one study that involved rats wearing tiny rat-sized football helmelts.

They can wear the helmets but I bet they can't run the wildcat offense.
posted by Bonzai at 10:16 PM on December 19, 2009


Things like blocking and spear-tackling are prohibited in rugby. The game requires tacklers to wrap their arms around ball-carriers to bring them to the ground. It's a rough collision sport, and it may look like violent chaos, but safety is key to the game.
posted by jleisek at 10:20 PM on December 19, 2009


Kid Charlemagne: It's not the kinetic energy that matters, it's the momentum. That's what's causing the concussions: accelerating the skull.

Also, it's not that unrealistic to think that a helmet could make a pretty huge difference here. When two heads collide the acceleration is near instantaneous. If you can use padding to stretch that time out to three times as long, now you've got 1/3 the acceleration, which is a big difference.

I'm sure if you drop a bunch of coffee mugs on wooden floors and cement floors you'll learn that even a very small amount of give can make a pretty big difference in the damage done, for just this reason.
posted by aubilenon at 12:09 AM on December 20, 2009


You know what helmets work well against impacts? Bike helmets.

You know how they work? They explode sending as much of the impact out sideways as possible. Of course, then they're shattered, cracked, and useless for a second go.

And, that they're designed to mitigate injuries- not completely nullify all force coming in, and certainly with the idea that you're not going to be a 300 lbs person slamming your head against another 300 lbs person going full force.

As cool as it would be to see exploding helmets each play, I doubt anyone who's gotten used to using the helmet as a weapon would much like one that absorbs your force you're trying to use to bash the other guy in.
posted by yeloson at 12:15 AM on December 20, 2009


aubilenon: “... it's not that unrealistic to think that a helmet could make a pretty huge difference here. When two heads collide the acceleration is near instantaneous. If you can use padding to stretch that time out to three times as long, now you've got 1/3 the acceleration, which is a big difference.”

Yeah, I was thinking that, too; but I should say that reducing the acceleration the human head undergoes to 1/3 of what it went through without a helmet seems, to my layman math-lover's eye, to be pretty optimistic. But it might be attainable. However, even if you could design a helmet that would increase the acceleration time by a factor of three - the quotation in that article claimed that the average lineman endures twenty to thirty times the force of gravity on every play. Now, it seems to me that that study was probably done already taking into consideration the highest level of helmet technology (helmets these days aren't exactly crap) - but assuming that you still managed to slow acceleration down three times, that has linemen enduring six to ten times the force of gravity on every play, which is still clearly unacceptable as far as brain health is concerned.

I'm skeptical that it's possible to design a safe helmet around the game. I think it's time to face the fact that the game has to be redesigned around safety.

Also, seriously: it is fucking hard to play "Giant Steps" on an accordion. Like, really fucking hard.
posted by koeselitz at 12:34 AM on December 20, 2009


reenum, please add the "concussion" tag to this post.
posted by intermod at 7:42 AM on December 20, 2009


You know what helmets work well against impacts? Bike helmets.

<gets popcorn>
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:30 AM on December 20, 2009


You know what's really fun? Playing full-contact football when you are young and invincible. Get in there and "put a hat on some one." What a blast. I suspect that has something to do with why young men do it.
posted by MarshallPoe at 12:27 PM on December 20, 2009


My bro-in-law played college football and I tried on his helmet and despite it fitting me fine it was remarkably less reassuring than my motorcycle helmet. If I get to have my choice of equipment for my next bat-fight my choice is easy. Football helmet designers have studied woodpeckers in their quest for a safer helmet which seems to make perfect sense but iirc it's the inside of the skull that would need to be re-engineered for humans to benefit.
The average life expectancy for an NFL lineman is an astoundingly low 52 years. Arguments about the relative dangers and injury rates during the game for different sports aside, football lineman as employment* has a life expectancy 10 years less than that of a male police officer in the US.

*Obviously how big you have to be to become employed as a lineman is a factor but from what I have found "...40-year-old male nonsmokers lost 5.8 years (of life expectancy) because of obesity."^ size/obesity only accounts for a portion of the decrease.

The Buzz Lightyear helmet suggestion by John Smallberries above is IMO not only not silly but might be genius.

/ramble
Go Saints!
posted by vapidave at 7:54 PM on December 20, 2009


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