I’m working on a piece that explains what we now are doing as far as concusssion protocol that should prevent these type things. But you are right, football is under attack because of these stories. No doubt, numbers of participants are decreasing.
This is likely true in the absence of incredible equipment advances. It is a drain on many colleges’ resources (many will argue this point and I don’t wish to get into it) and when lawyers figure out how to pierce the veil of sovereign immunity, it goes away.
Participation rates may precipitate this and be the ultimate cause.
Selfishly, it saddens me because I love the sport. However, it is not a game which lends itself to a lifestyle. It was never designed to be a career; no sport really was, I suppose.
I want to say, “Enjoy it while you got it!” but that sounds so myopic. Still, as long as people make the choice to play (and they do, currently, have that choice), enjoy it. Not to sound fatalistic, but it won’t be here long.
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Entirely possible. Rule changes can make things safer; the kickoff setup used in the XFL seemed to possibly be a major advance, but kickoffs are only a small portion of the game, albeit one with a high risk of head trauma. Can they change the rules enough to keep it recognizable but safe enough? We shall see.
I feel the simple way to handle kickoffs is to eliminate them. Put the ball on the 30 or so and go from there.
I think the kickoff will continue to be altered until it disappears altogether. Fine to me.