A Simple Solution to a Serious Problem

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone to learn that hitting people with your head will hurt your brain and that covering that head with a hunk of plastic before hitting people with your head will still result in injury to the brain.  We finally have pretty clear evidence of what we all should have intuitively understood – enough so that The Curmudgeon believes that any parent who permits a minor child to play tackle football in light of all this now-clear evidence should be investigated for child endangerment.

With that said, Americans love their football and there are still millions of idiotic American males who are willing to risk injury to their brain for the thrill, glory, fame, and riches of playing football.  Or they just like hitting people. People are doing a lot of things to reduce the incidence of brain injuries by making helmets stronger, teaching players not to block and tackle with their heads, and introducing penalties for those who persist in doing so.  Short of banning tackle football, it’s not clear that much more can be done.

Or maybe there IS something that can be done.

With this in mind, The Curmudgeon has a modest proposal.

Once upon a time, football players didn’t wear the massive, rock-hard helmets they wear today.  No, they wore leather helmets, the purpose of which was not to facilitate blocking and tackling with the head but to protect the players’ brains when they fell to the ground – something that happens a lot when people play tackle football.

As silly as this may (at least on the surface) seem, why not…go back to the days of football players wearing leather helmets?  The problem with today’s helmets is that while they clearly do not protect the brain from long-term injury, they DO protect the brain from “Oh my god I can’t believe how much that really, really hurt” moments.  You can tell a young man interested in thrills, glory, fame, and riches that hitting people with his helmeted head will cause him long-term problems but when he hits people with his head and it seldom even hurts he just doesn’t believe it, and the evidence be damned.

Put him in a leather helmet, though, and he’ll learn that lesson quickly.

Real quickly.

And the problem with brain injuries in football will be solved.

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