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Will the whole head injury debate kill football completely or just as we know it?

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  • hovis Dec 14, 2012
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    Haha! It's ok. We covered the bases. That may be a first!

  • Sassie Licks Penis Dec 14, 2012
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    +847

  • Ken D. Dec 14, 2012
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    Sorry, hovis. Didn't mean to kill your thread. We had a good discussion going for a while. :)

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Dec 13, 2012
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    So Carolina's luck is not a new phenomena? :)

  • Ken D. Dec 13, 2012
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    The way I heard that story was that the UNC punter, realizing that the oncoming rush was going to squash him like a bug, threw the ball into the air and ran from the field screaming like a little girl. Luckily for UNC, a teammate caught the ball thrown away in panic and scored. So UNC "invented" the forward pass in the same way Isaac Newton invented gravity by letting an apple fall on his head. :)

  • unc70 Dec 13, 2012
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    Don't see any reason we should.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Dec 13, 2012
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    Guess Carolina fans can stop bragging about that one, eh? :)

  • unc70 Dec 13, 2012
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    As most of you probably know, among the big rules changes back then included the forward pass, which UNC helped "invent".

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Dec 13, 2012
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    Great read, Ken! Thanks for posting that.

    Making it clickable: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/153923

  • hovis Dec 13, 2012
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    think would be needed to teach them a lesson. Skipping all that lets just grant that they will get something. Most likely this will NEVER go to trial. They will settle. Part of the agreement will be a certain amount of future money allocated to each player for future health care, etc. Let us say that this is 150K. That is likely a very low number. This is what will effect NCAA fb. Why would that number be any different for each NCAA fb player? Could your school or any school afford to spend that amount of money for every player? Doubt it.

    The NFL will certainly survive this.
    College football may not.

    Addressing your earlier quote, now that it is a class action suit, there will only be one lawsuit.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Dec 13, 2012
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    Thanks for the info, and this is about what I would expect.

    But after this, then what? To win a second lawsuit, the NFL would have to continue without making any changes at all. That won't happen. They will tweak the rules a little, institute bigger fines for head hits, etc. And they will launch an ongoing campaign to educate the players about the health risks involved.

    That will (IMO) prevent any future lawsuits from winning, and football will proceed without any big changes.

  • Ken D. Dec 13, 2012
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    Interesting story about the state of college football just over 100 years ago. There is nothing new under the sun.

    http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/153923

  • hovis Dec 13, 2012
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    Here is a basic overview of how these class action lawsuits work. I am going to make the basic numbers up because it is not worth finding them for this discussion.

    The lawyers get together. They find one or two or ten people together to file the suit. Then they go for class action status. After the suit is granted class action status they gather all of the plaintiffs that they can (ex players). They cherry pick the best ones that represent the best examples of the damages that they wish to pursue.

    Now they check the defendants assets. This is the most important part for the lawyers. This is how they decide who they sue as you will never see a class action lawsuit against a defendant that is not wealthy. Lets say for discussion that the NFL has 2 billion in cash assets and has a projected 1 billion dollar profit for each of the next 5 years. That is seven billion dollars. This is how much money they will want to get so that they do not bankrupt the NFL. They will inevitably ask for ten initially but this is only for negotiation.

    Now that they have a number they will start building their case. The lawyers suing the NFL will evaluate each player and assign eash an amount of damages on a pay scale (lv 1, 2, 3). Each level will be a different amount of money. The numbers will be vastly overblown. Lets say that they are representing 10k current and future NFL players. Lets say the average damages that they will seek are 250k for each player. That comes to 2.5 billion. The rest will be pursued (4.5 billion) in punitive damages. The is the money that they ask for to "teach the NFL" a lesson. Part would be allotted to future health care etc.

    Punitive damages are not hard for them to get because veryone knows that it is simple for the plaintiffs lawyers to put hurt or injured players that are down on their luck on the stand to draw tears. Then they actually tell the jury how much money the NFL has and what amount they

  • blueduke4 Dec 13, 2012
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    Great point truth, will be interesting to see how that works out...if anything i think these lawsuits will just bring more awareness to the issue, i dont see a way to cut it out completely without drastically changing the game.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Dec 13, 2012
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    I also believe the risk of injury is progressively greater with each level. Head injuries can and do happen at the HS level, but in HS you're not getting hit by college or pro players that are much bigger, stronger and faster than you. I'm not saying HS football is a safe place to play. But the risk of head trauma has to be much lower than at college, and at pro.

    Plus, I'm not even sure the lawsuits will even win anyway. We're talking about evidence that is mostly discovered after an NFL veteran has passed away. Did he sustain his worst injuries in the NFL? In college? In high school? On the elementary school playground? Good luck proving where it happened, to the point where any particular organization will be forced to pay up.

  • blueduke4 Dec 13, 2012
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    very true ken, and an excellent post i might add. wow, refreshing to finally see legitimate threads here

  • unc70 Dec 13, 2012
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    The flash point in the discussion is high school and younger injuries. The recent research on the cumulative effect of repeated small concussions for HS players is really scarey. Without the huge financial incentives of the pro and college levels, how do you justify the risk for ordinary HS students? And the risks with soccer are much higher than most people expect.

  • Ken D. Dec 13, 2012
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    While I agree that the NFL can adequately survive any lawsuits that may occur, I'm not so sure individual colleges could. And that could turn out to be a good thing.

    It could drive colleges and universities to distance themselves from the sport by acknowledging that they are professional enterprises not connected with their educational activities. Make their football teams independent legal entities to insulate themselves from the threat of lawsuits. I'm sure at some point the NFL will require players to sign waivers of liability for long term effects of repeated head trauma.

    Football players are America's gladiators. Fans pay to see them risk life and limb to entertain us. If the Romans had taken steps to make sure gladiators weren't hurt in the arena, the masses would have stopped paying to see them. American fans are just as bloodthirsty. It's just like NASCAR. If there's no danger, there's no fun.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Dec 13, 2012
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    I think football can and should shape rules around the prevention of head trauma as much as feasibly possible. But there is just too much money involved for it to go the way of the dinosaur. The players love the game, and the ones that get paid for playing also love the huge money. Boxers continue to box, despite the health risks. Same thing with football.

    For those of you that think football will stop, what will cause that to happen? I can only think of two things:

    1) Lawsuits. If the fear of lawsuits is too great, that could be the end of the sport. But I've already made my case why lawsuits will not be an indefinite thing. Some will be lost. But then they will end. And football can continue.

    2) Loss of fan viewership. The only thing that will cause this to happen is if football gets turned into a pansy sport that none of us care to watch any more. I just don't think that will happen. Why would it? They don't need to remove the violence of the sport in order to prevent future lawsuits. They just need to take reasonable steps to discourage the violent head hits, and give ample health warnings to the players.

    I just don't see football changing enough to kill it.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Dec 13, 2012
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    I don't. They might take a big financial hit from the lawsuit. But as soon as they are able to say in court that they've done as much as they feasibly can to prevent injuries, and they have properly educated their players about the health risks, then the threat of lawsuits will dissipate. They may lose the first one, but not the rest. And the NFL makes too much money every year to close up shop and call it a day. They'll bounce back from any lawsuit and keep on truckin'.

  • unc70 Dec 13, 2012
    Sports Legend

    A great thread is still possible here.

    A reminder, some of the top research on these injuries is being done locally.
    http://www.wral.com/lifestyles/healthteam/story/10156367/

    While the financial impact on the NFL has received most of the attention, think about how this might play out for the NCAA and for the new super conferences. Big time college athletics is funded almost entirely by college football and its TV rights. The financial models are already unsustainable, based on an ever-increasing amount being paid by ESPN, et al and ultimately by local cable subscribers. Changing technologies and demographics will place enormous pressures on this business model in 5-10 years, and these changes could be sudden and in ways that are hard to predict and control.

    All the recent conference realignments have tended to increase the risk of the whole system imploding. The serious issues with football injuries makes the future even more of a challenge.

  • Unc r Hypocrits Dec 13, 2012
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    No truer words were ever spoken. It's all about getting the girls' attentions.

  • hovis Dec 13, 2012
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    A side issue that I have not seen anyone on ESPN or any other outlet bring up is steroids. We all know about the alleged effects of steroids on the body. Ten years ago there was extensive debate about the effect on the brain. Do you remeber those multiple murder suicides in the 90's and later in professional wrestling? On a percentage scale the rate violent events was enormous (look it up). Now we are talking about, in football, a sport where current estimates are that 90% of players do or have used steroids.

    And we are talking about head injuries being the cause.

  • hovis Dec 12, 2012
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    We would all hope that it could all come to a logical, sensible conclusion. It probably could have before it became a class action lawsuit. Heck, we could likely draw up a sensible agreement in 10 minutes right here on this board. Little hope for that now that it is lawyers and labor vs. rich football. These things almost always become a train wreck for everyone but the lawyers. It becomes a pizzing contest about damages (cash money) and how much should be alloyed. Lets just say it is 1 billion dollars. The lawyers will get something like a third. The rest will be used to pay for the health stuff they are talking about. The real loser is the player that may have actually sustained some injury. 10 years from now after taxes and other costs are paid they try to claim their damages. After discussion they are given their 11k part if the settlement which will not even pay for the care they need. And they cannot sue again since a judgement has been entered for them. They will be the real losers. Meanwhile the only real winners are the lawyers that received 50 million or more each. NFL lost. Players lost. Lawyers won. Someone else brought up the cigarette suits earlier. If you doubt me go get you some lung cancer and then forward the bill to the State of North Carolina who received something like 100 billion dollars. See what you get.

    I know people are going "I don't think that can happen". I am not saying it will or will not only that it very well can happen. Big business(hostess) vs workers (hostess workers) run by semi interested party only after winning with less to lose than either other party (union) =no more twinkies.

    It can happen and nobody wins.

  • ncstateforever Dec 12, 2012
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    hovis, you created a good thread with some great comments. It hasn't been highjacked yet. I'll just throw my two cents worth into it. I don't see things changing a lot in the NFL. They may change the kick off, but the NFL is a big time business. Players want more, but the also want to play the game they love. The players association wants more financial support from the teams, the teams want to earn more money. I really think the players and the owners should meet in the middle and provide some kind of retirement for the players. I just can't see the players not wanting to play the game they love. Great thread! We need more of these, and less of the insults.

  • hovis Dec 12, 2012
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    The nfl would have to follow suit because of the same liability issues. The nfl would be hard pressed to form their own d league that replaces as good and thorough a system as college fb which is currently free. They would fight to help college football the best that they could.

  • blueduke4 Dec 12, 2012
    Sports Legend

    I agree college will ALWAYS follow suit of the nfl, but hypothetically, if colleges were proactive first in major rules changes would the nil follow or turn their nose? Would kids turn away from colleges if they felt college ball didn't prepare them? A minor league football could take advantage of this hypothetical world lol

  • hovis Dec 12, 2012
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    Actually it will likely go the way it has gone so far. The NFL will be more proactive with rule changes because they are the ones being sued and NCAA fb will have to follow suit. Kick offs from the 35 etc. their lawyers have told them that anything that the nfl institutes for safety reasons NCAA football will have to follow suit because if you don't then you are creating risk that the nfl decided was unacceptable risk. Thus NCAA fb would be extremely exposed legally. So if the NFL does lose the kickoff this summer the NCAA will immediately do the same.

  • blueduke4 Dec 12, 2012
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    If ccollege football changes the game or rules significantly, will the nfl follow suit?

  • hovis Dec 12, 2012
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    Sorry, I am not sure I understand the question.

  • blueduke4 Dec 12, 2012
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    You think if college level football is put to an end, or major enough rules changes take place to change the game significantly, that the nfl will change it's "brand" as well?

  • hovis Dec 12, 2012
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    Bankruptcy is not toppling. American Airlines has gone bankrupt like 30 times and they still fly. It just means that the party in question now owes more money than it can reasonably be expected to pay and needs judicial relief. This normally reopens agreements (like the cba) and analyzes assets to create a structured plan for repayment. You are right that it is unlikely that the nfl with their huge projected income could be shut down but they could be bankrupted.

    The main point though was collegiate football. They do not have anything like nfl money. Long term health care for players that did not go pro could easily shut them down. Can't you just see some lawyer talking about "the players that were left behind"?

  • blueduke4 Dec 12, 2012
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    I still believe it is just to popular to topple, no matter what happens with the lawsuit.

  • hovis Dec 12, 2012
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    It depends. It is possible. The lawyers usually ask for all that they can get without bankrupting the business because if they go bankrupt they get nothing. If they set up a payment agreement and the nfl then loses revenue it could happen.

    Sometimes they agree to things that accumulate over time like massive pensions or health care packages. When income decreases or health care becomes more expensive then bankruptcy can happen.

  • hovis Dec 12, 2012
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    It should also be pointed out that the NFL will likely be the ones that drag the NCAA into this. They do not feel that they should be alone in this fight. Currently (last I saw) the average NFL career of a player that made a roster is just over three years. That means that the average nfl player likely sustained 3 years of hits in college and 3 or 4 years of hits in high school. That is seven years of hits before a player even gets to the nfl not counting middle school or pop warner. They do not feel they the nfl should be the sole liable party.

  • blueduke4 Dec 12, 2012
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    Do you believe this lawsuit could "bankrupt" the nfl, as has been suggested on esp?

  • hovis Dec 12, 2012
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    Agreed.

  • blueduke4 Dec 12, 2012
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    Interesting hovis, didn't realize this was somewhat in the works. Players should take care of players imo. I really hope they can come to some sort of resolution and end all this, I feel like it damages the excellent product on the field.

  • hovis Dec 12, 2012
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    They already sign a release just like you speak of with about a hundred other things in it too. The lawyers just laugh while they wipe their $&@&$ with it.

    The health care thing that you are talking about is actually one of the things that the NFL and the players union are working on now. There always has been some health care but this would be more extensive. Current thinking is that the NFL will foot the whole bill though. Same type of long term benefits stuff that destroyed Detroit which also seemed too big and too rich to fail. But, fail it did.

  • blueduke4 Dec 12, 2012
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    The nfl and football in general is so popular right now, it is hard to imagine a future without it. I propose a simple answer for the nfl: if a player wishes to play in the nfl he must sign a some sort of documents stating that ANY injury inflicted while playing is not grounds for a lawsuit against the nfl. Furthermore, a percentage of every game check received will enter into a player injury pool, this money can be used to help current and former players with current or lingering injuries. Let's be honest, they make a ton of money, this could be possible. I think players may think twice about it if they know they are all in it together. Just my opinion any comments on said idea?

  • hovis Dec 12, 2012
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    I played safety and to be honest it was the shoulder pads that made me feel far more invincible and dangerous than the helmet. The shoulders properly applied can hit somebody much harder than the helmet can to. Look how many players are concussed from these shoulder to the head hits.

    I get what you are saying about the helmet and I agree a lot less players would not lead with the head. The only problem with that is that most of the head to head collisions are not from people leading with the head so much. They are combinations of two heads being in the same place often because the offensive player puts his head in the path of an already committed tackler. Without helmets these collisions would be catastrophic and potentially fatal.

  • PacknoPride Dec 12, 2012
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    Me either, but the helmet and the facemask are the weapons. The game was actually played, and not too long ago, without the facemask. Less likely to go head first into a tackle without a helmet or facemask to mess up that pretty face.

  • Ken D. Dec 12, 2012
    Sports Legend

    Boxing, MMA and the like are blood sports. Their entire purpose is to do physical harm to one's opponent. Almost every human culture has accepted this practice. It doesn't say much good about us as a species, but I doubt we'll ever change it. Sports like football are only a notch below. The are a substitute - a metaphor - for combat. Some anthropologists would even argue that if we didn't have such sports as an outlet for our violent nature that we would be more violent toward one another.

    Boys play these games because girls like boys who expose themselves to physical danger. We do a lot of dumb things to get girls to like us. I don't think that's ever going to change.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Dec 12, 2012
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    Actually, I almost posted that. I've seen that suggested elsewhere, and it makes sense. If you remove the weapon (the helmet), then people can no longer use the weapon.

    But as soon as a player splits open his skull and his brain rolls out on the ground, that really would be the end of football! And how many receivers would jump as high as they can, while running at full speed, to make a catch? Especially with tacklers closing in.

    I don't think this can work in football like it does in rugby. Football seems to be more violent than rugby. But then again, maybe it is only this violent because of the padding. Remove the padding, and it becomes less violent.

    But another "then again"... do we really want our football to be less violent? If I wanted rugby, I'd watch rugby!

  • hovis Dec 12, 2012
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    There are also far less two hundred and forty five pound linebackers that run a 4.47. They would all be dead in a week.

  • PacknoPride Dec 12, 2012
    Sports Legend

    Get rid of the helmets and go back to the leather helmets and the hits using the hits leading with the head will go away. The helmet is the weapon. I'd also do away with all the pads. There are less injuries in rugby.

  • hovis Dec 12, 2012
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    You have come to the point that I have come to also. I just wish that we would go ahead and put the "potentially dangerous violent sport" tag on it now. Because what I do know is that if they do take away the kick off or any other safety attached bs that they are pushing for you cannot go back.

    If you later do something that it perceived as putting players at greater risk then you are liable. Again.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Dec 12, 2012
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    This is an interesting topic. People assume that since we can't stop the head hits, then football as we know it is doomed.

    But is it?

    If football is actively promoted with WARNINGS that head trauma can have long-lasting negative affects on the health of players, then can juries really rule against the leagues? Players know going in that there are risks. And if lawsuit fears are squashed, can't football just continue?

    Going back to the cigarette example, there were lawsuits against "Big Tobacco". But now there are all kinds of warnings on cigarette labels. And they continue to sell them. There is no more fear of a lawsuit.

    I think that can and will happen with football. They may lose the initial lawsuits, but they will figure out how to continue (with warning labels like cigarettes!) and it will continue.

    After thinking this through, I now feel better about the chances of football surviving this.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Dec 12, 2012
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    You're probably right. But if these leagues do "enough" to prevent losing future lawsuits on this topic, then they can continue. They don't have to stop the head hits altogether (although I wish they would). They just need to make enough effort to satisfy a judge or jury that they did all they could. And more importantly, they need to be able to prove they didn't knowingly withhold medical information from the participants.

    It's kind of like cigarette companies. They are having so many legal problems because not only did they know of the addictive power of their product, they knowingly added addictive ingredients to them. And they kept it all a big secret. But there is no problem if they are open and honest about everything, with warning labels, etc. If a smoker still wants to smoke them, at least they have been educated. The poor judgment is on them, not on being uninformed.

    As for boxing and MMA, I don't really watch those sports much. I do watch the big championship bouts sometimes. But I see that differently. When a boxer steps into the ring, he knows your opponent is trying to bash his brains in!

    I guess the same can be said for a football player. But he can theoretically play without taking a hit to the head. But I think the main problem is the league knew there was a long-term risk to their health, and kept that info hidden. Maybe it will become like boxing, and the head hits will become acceptable, as long as everyone knows the risks involved. Like in boxing, if you don't accept the risks, don't participate.

  • hovis Dec 12, 2012
    All Star

    I don't disagree with you. The core of the discussion is that there is no way to coach or fine out more than 35% of these hits. Probably not even that many. Will that be enough to stop the dismantling of the sport? I doubt it.

    Do you watch boxing or MMA? Do you cringe and swear that they should take hits to the head out of those sports when you see those head hits?

    Or do you consider them part of the sport because no one has said otherwise? Are SOME hits not just the cost of playing football?

    Why are ex boxers not being paraded in front of us with ridiculous claims of every stupid thing that they have ever done is somehow tied to concussions? Because boxing does not have enough money for those claims to be profitable to lawyers, therefore they do not exist.

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