By Chuck Woodbury
If you watch football in person or on TV, you know there’s a lot of concern these days about preventing concussions. New rules in very recent times aim to help prevent injuries, including concussions.
Football helmet technology improves constantly. Today’s helmets are a far cry from those of yesteryear, as you can see here.
I found this one on display at the Needles Regional Museum in Needles, California. It was worn by a member of Needles High School’s first football team in 1923. Can you imagine players today wearing this? They’d be carted off the field one after another.
From its earliest days, football was a very violent sport. The 1894 Harvard-Yale game, known as the “Hampden Park Blood Bath,” resulted in crippling injuries for four players; the contest was suspended until 1897. The annual Army-Navy game was suspended from 1894 to 1898 for similar reasons.
Wikipedia reports: “Dangerous mass-formations like the flying wedge resulted in serious injuries and deaths. A 1905 peak of 19 fatalities nationwide resulted in a threat by President Theodore Roosevelt to abolish the game unless major changes were made. In response, 62 colleges and universities met in New York City to discuss rule changes on December 28, 1905. These proceedings resulted in the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States, later renamed the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).”
It’s reported that in the old days, with so little head protection, players avoided hitting opponents in the head. Some people today think doing away with football helmets altogether might help reduce injuries.
Don’t hold your breath for that to happen.