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And Another Thing


Belaboring the obvious

Here comes more bad news for the NFL, and football in general, if you consider re-stating what we already know to be more bad news.

A new study of NFL death certificates finds that former NFL players are more prone to dying of degenerative brain disease than the general population, by a factor of roughly 3-to-1.

Altogether now: Well, duh.

This is, after all, something we pretty much already knew; the only thing new here is that it's now been quantified. Aside from that .... well, common sense is enough to figure out that getting hit repeatedly in the head over a span of, say, 20 or 25 years tends to have a debilitating effect.

I honestly don't know what football can do about this and still be, at its essence, football. Either the game must fundamentally change its very nature, or it eventually fades into the sort of irrelevancy we now reserve for sports such as boxing -- another athletic pursuit, of course, which has issues with brain trauma.

I'm already hearing anecdotal stories about a pronounced drop in local youth football participation, and I'm guessing this isn't the only place where that's happening. From there, you can follow the logical, and grim, progression, because youth football is what feeds high school football, which in turn is what feeds college football, which in turn provides the labor force for the NFL.

Not a sunny prognosis.

Ben Smith's blog.