The Future of Football

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Brief Background

Concussions and head injuries have long been plaguing the game of football, however it was not until the last decade or so that this topic had been brought to center stage. Concussions had always been the least of football’s concerns; you take a hard hit, sit out a couple plays and get right back into the action. Your favorite NFL player, say Lawrence Taylor, takes a good lick to the head and appears to be a little slow to get up. Taylor walks over to the sideline to be evaluated. Nothing seems to be out of the ordinary so Taylor hops back into the game on the next play. Taylor might not have sustained a concussion on that hit, but that one brutal hit to the head, could lead him closer to permanent brain damage. The real danger behind football has seemed to be long ignored as the fan experience and money that comes from this dangerous game is top priority. Ingfei Chen, author of Exactly How Dangerous Is Football, provides his readers with statistics and information regarding the true danger lurking behind the game of football. Chen brings a neutral stance to the topic while also providing his readers with the pros and cons of the continuation of the sport. Chen explores the impact of football on the human brain, specifically CTE, and goes on to say “They were acutely aware of a type of dementia, called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., that was afflicting many players in the N.F.L. and N.H.L. The disease had been the subject of extensive media coverage. It could be caused by repeated blows to the head — exactly the kinds of blows they had suffered while playing professional sports.” Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, better known as CTE, has been traced to a large number of former football players, and even shows early signs in today’s youth football players.

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

Where We Are Now

195 countries, over 6,500 languages, and the questions remains the same: Can football ever be safe? How is this new technology going to change the game for the better? Is football going to be extinct in the next 20 years? The answer is. Nobody knows. What we do know is that helmet safety is constantly being worked on around the clock, hoping to find a solution to the concussions plaguing the game of football. However, some strongly believe that despite all the time, effort, and money used towards improving player safety, in the end, it simply may not make a difference. Stephanie Pappas, writer of Can Football Ever be Safe?, explores the dangers behind the game of football, one of those dangers being CTE. Pappas collaborates with VICIS CEO, Dave Marver, who has just put out a new helmet to the market. This new helmet, known as the VICIS, offers a flexible outer shell that is believed to offer better support when taking blows to the head. However, Marver is still hesitant as to calling this new helmet design the cure to all head injuries. ‘As long as there are impact forces resulting from collisions, risk of concussion remains,’ Marver said. Different people have different thresholds for concussion, Marver said, and no helmet is foolproof enough to protect against all potential hits.” (Pappas).

Where Football Is Headed

The last decade brought many new inventions and trends to center stage: in 2010 the first ever iPad was released, 2012 introduced the Gangnam Style, and in 2016 the world went crazy over Pokémon Go. Despite all these worldwide trends and obsessions, one of the biggest takeaways from the decade was the rise of the eSport. ESports, also known as electronic sports, offer an alternative to your everyday sport and have seen a dramatic increase in popularity within the past few years. ESports have become so popular among America’s younger generation that some suggest that football can be heading down this path in the near future. Brando Starkey, writer of The Real Future of Football is as an eSport, strongly believes that the future of football may very realistically be on a computer. Starkey explains the safety issue plaguing the game and declares “This conundrum — the game is best when it includes its most dangerous elements, but when it includes its most dangerous elements, the game can’t survive — can only be solved by taking humans off the gridiron. The real future of football is as an esport.” The question everyone is wanting to know, will football move from the gridiron to the computer screen in the near future?

Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash
YouTube, VICIS Pro



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