As more and more parents in the U.S. see the connection between football and brain damage, the game we love will change. Many will tell their teenage boys, “You can play any sport you want … except tackle football.” What’s left will be a gladiator sport.
We now know that football is harming players through repeated trauma and long-term brain damage. From the NFL on down to Pop Warner youth leagues, the game, the training and the gear must adapt to reduce harm. Decades of data tell us what needs to change.
Having represented professional athletes since 1975, I’ve been worrying about football players’ health since long before the first diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in a former NFL player, in 2002.