John Harbaugh, BaltimoreRavens:
The game of football is under attack.
We see it every day in the headlines and on the news. The medical concerns are pressing. The game has taken its share of criticism. President Barack Obama said that if he had boys he wouldn’t let them play football. Even LeBron James has publicly said no football in his house.
The question is asked over and over: Why would anyone want to play football? And why would anyone let their kids play?
Coaches teach our young people the lessons of life. Coaches can push a young man further than he ever thought he could go. The game teaches discipline, builds character, teaches obedience, promotes teamwork, and is a tough learning experience. Those are the positives. On the negative side, there were 17 football related deaths in 2013, and three deaths in four days in 2014.
It is true that coaches at the high school level are influential in serving as the father figure. Many women feel this is the last chance for their youngsters to be molded into a man. The values learned from football can be life-changing.
Youth football has taken measures to promote safety with proper tacking procedures and the elimination of helmet to helmet hits. There are still worries about concussions are just part of the reason why some families are having second thoughts about letting their children play football.
Billy Graham once said, “One coach will influence more people in one year than the average person will do in a lifetime.” My dad also says all the time that it just takes one person to believe in a young man or young woman to change their lives. I couldn’t agree more.
It is all well and good that John Harbaugh is on the same page with Christian Evangelist Billy Graham. John is going to need all of Billy's evangelical powers to raise money for those concussion lawsuits against the NFL.
Travis Waldron, ThinkProgress:
On Wednesday, a federal judge finally granted approval to a proposed settlement between the NFL and more than 4,000 former players who had sued the league over its past handling of concussions.
As a result, the caps were scrapped, and under this settlement, the NFL could pay out more than $1 billion in benefits to players suffering from an assortment of diseases related to brain trauma that occurred during their years in professional football.
The families of Chicago Bears S Dave Duerson and San Diego Chargers LB Junior Seau will not go quietly into the night. The wife of former Atlanta Falcons DB Ray Easterling and a group of seven former players sued the NFL, claiming the league failed to properly treat players for concussions and tried to conceal for decades any links between football and brain injuries. It was the first potential class-action lawsuit that was filed.
The lawsuit for Ray Easterling against the NFL changed with his suicide in 2012. It will change from a personal-injury case to a wrongful-death case. Mr. Easterling was one of up to 2,000 plaintiffs in about 60 liability lawsuits against the NFL. Mary Ann Easterling, Mr. Easterling's wife, said her husband suffered from dementia and depression due to football-related brain injuries.
Junior Seau just doesn't seem right at his induction into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame in 2011. 20 years in the NFL will do that to you.
In 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt nearly outlawed football due to its violence. There were 19 football deaths. In 2014, there were eight deaths, and the yearly average is 12. Youngsters playing in Pop Warner youth football leagues have dropped by 9.5% since 2010. Progress has made in helmet safety. Rules have been implemented eliminating dangerous formations like the flying wedge. It has been over a century since football was on the brink of extinction. Without further progress, we are not that far removed from 1905.
I do give credit to John Harbaugh for enhancing his sport. "The lesson that we care about health and safety far outweighs the game."
Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire. .
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