Tag Archives: future
Football may be over in a decade or two, according to Hall of Fame defensive back Lem Barney.
“The game is becoming more deadly today,” Barney said at a football clinic last week. “It’s a great game. I think it’s the greatest game if you like gladiators. It’s the greatest game for yesteryear’s gladiators. But I can see in the next 10 to maybe 20 years, society will alleviate football altogether.”
Barney, who is a plaintiff in the litigation being brought by hundreds of former football players against the NFL, added that he found out after he left the game that he “had seven, maybe eight concussions.”
Denver Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson suggested that Barney may be on to something. “They’re trying to make the game safer, but it’s a gladiators’ sport and there’s only so much safety you can bring to it,” he said. “The best thing we can do is give these kids tools to learn how to tackle the right away.”
This was not the first time Barney has spoken out on concussions.
Last year, he told The Detroit News: “If I look at the game now and I look back on it retrospectively, if I had another choice I’d never played the game, at all, in my life. Never. Never. From all-city, all-state, all-conference, all-American, seven times All-Pro, I’m in eight Hall of Fames, it wouldn’t be. It would be golf or tennis. I’m serious. Very serious.”
A recent article by Chicago Tribune journalist John Kass talks about the possible death of American football. That is not a viewpoint shared by former Wisconsin high school football coach Bill Collar, and a “past president of the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association.”
Kass floats the theory that, at some point, the NFL will no longer “exist.” The reason being, that parents will not longer allow there sons to participate in such a violent sport—one than can precipitate life-threatening injuries. In other words, no Pop Warner, no middle school, no high school, no college…no players. Which then begs the question, Where does that leave professional football?
Coach Collar is quick to illustrate that professional football and youth and high school football are different in many ways. Trying to say they’re similar is misguided information. All “the benefits of high school football far outweigh the risks involved. Sportsmanship, teamwork, commitment, persistence, physical fitness and the discipline and training necessary to play the game properly all escape Kass,” Collar writes.
Collar strongly points out his support for youth and high school football in this recent article, backing up what he preaches, while clearly thrashing Kass’ claims.
Their attorneys probably weren’t happy, but several former Chicago Bears told veteran journalist Melissa Isaacson last week that their quality of life at present is decent. The future is what they are worried about.
Plaintiff Terry Schmidt, who played defensive back for the Bears from 1976 to 1984 and is the chief of dental services at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, N.C., said he took a standard test last month on the advice of a neurologist to establish a baseline. He scored 59 out of 60.
Schmidt indicated that one of the reasons he joined was the suicides of former players Dave Duerson and Junior Seau, and the link to past concussions.
“I want more awareness and places where we can go to get evaluated,” he said. “Plus, if something catastrophic happens, I’d like for my wife to be taken care of.”
Former Brian Baschnagel is another one who says he currently isn’t experiencing any symptoms. He was initially “resistant to the emails and phone calls from former players and lawyers trying to persuade him to join one of the lawsuits,” according to the article.
“(But) you just never know what can happen five, 10 years down the road and once I get much older,” said Baschnagel.