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Should football players ditch the helmets in the name of concussions?

Concussions have been a huge issue for the National Football League and football players and much of the focus revolves around helmets. Is it time to get rid of helmets completely?
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Concussions have been a huge issue for the National Football League and football players and much of the focus revolves around helmets. Is it time to get rid of helmets completely?

This idea, which would be considered blasphemy in many parts, was raised by The Wall Street Journal. The gist: If football players didn't wear helmets they wouldn't hit with their heads. If they didn't hit with their heads the concussion rate would slow.

The money quote:

"Some people have advocated for years to take the helmet off, take the face mask off. That'll change the game dramatically," says Fred Mueller, a University of North Carolina professor who studies head injuries. "Maybe that's better than brain damage."

There's something to that. I've played football and have had a bunch of concussions. I've also played rugby. What you learn quickly is that you have to unlearn the way you hit when you transition from football to rugby. Simply put, your face and forehead aren't the lead weapon (in most cases).

The Journal notes that the NFL isn't considering removing helmets from the game. Indeed, the lack of helmets would dramatically change the game. The collisions and violence are why we watch.

Knowing that the NFL is focusing on better helmets and rule changes. What's unclear is whether new technology can limit long -term damage to players. And what the NFL ultimately decides has big ramifications for all of those college and high school football players getting knocked in the head.

Also: NFL players as guinea pigs

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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