I was interviewed for a piece on Slate by Will Oremus on how it’s not the lawsuits for individuals that will cascade and make football go away. Rather, it will be the lack of action by organizing groups and those that sanction the sport that could create suits against them that will make the game disappear.
For the record I love the sport of football, I truly believe it has its place in our culture and should not be “banned”. Football has positive attributes that were discussed in the debate by Tim Green and Jason Whitlock, it too has its undesirable side as well (for the purpose of this blog it is injuries, catastrophic ones at that).
Oremus took a look from a different angle, one that makes a whole lot of sense;
It seems obvious that suing coaches and trainers like Dustin Fink, while holding institutions unaccountable, can’t be the answer to reforming football. Going after individual high schools and colleges isn’t much better. If the evidence that even small hits can cause permanent damage keeps mounting, people will start to ask whether fielding an amateur football team constitutes gross negligence in itself.
The answer to that question should come not from the courts but from high-school athletic conferences, scholastic sports associations, and the NCAA. As the research rolls in, they need to take a hard look at the aspects of the game that inflict the most damage and implement rule changes accordingly. If football ends someday, it should only be because the powers that oversee the sport have tried everything to make it safe and determined that it can’t be done—not because lawsuits have spooked schools into giving up.
It may seem like a leap but if you read the article you will notice that winning a single plaintiff suit is difficult at best unless you can prove willful and wanton, something that would be almost irreproachable if you have a certified athletic trainer on staff. Sure you will get the occasional medical professional that will play outside the lines, but that can be said for many professions, hence the need for such rules.
What needs to get done is simple in my mind: proactive and creative steps to preserve the youth sports culture. As I sated in my twitter rant today, it may be initially painful but it will result in desirable outcomes rather than the current outcomes we are seeing today just trying to hang on.
It amazes me that all these former players could have been just as outspoken on concussion issue at least two years ago, but chose not to
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Get Proactive about something for once… Concussions would be a good issue… Even if it stings a bit… Do the right thing