Concussion Risks May Redefine Football's Manly Image The NFL has been slow to acknowledge the long-term effects of concussions from football. That is beginning to change, but will parents stop allowing their sons to play the sport? Only now, at last, are people in the sport beginning to acknowledge the obvious: Football is a gladiator entertainment.
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Head Injuries May Redefine Football's Manly Image

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Head Injuries May Redefine Football's Manly Image

Head Injuries May Redefine Football's Manly Image

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Here's commentator Frank Deford.

FRANK DEFORD: Dave Pear was an outstanding defensive lineman who played in a Pro Bowl and on a Super Bowl-winning team. When I was chatting with him in his living room a year ago, suddenly he thrust out one of his huge hands, grasping the back of my neck, squeezing hard. The pain I felt was excruciating. My hands shot up in desperation to try and release his grip. And then, just as quickly, he let go of me. Hurt? he asked, rhetorically. I nodded, ruefully. Well, he said, sometimes, without medication, that's how much I've hurt all day long.

NFL C: Goodell has issued new, more stringent rules with regard to concussions and urged former players to will their brains to a study at Boston University, which is seeking to determine how much does the sport scramble many minds. Invariably, however, when any attempts to improve football safety are suggested, a cry goes up that the spoilsports are out to destroy the very essence of the game. Hey, it's supposed to be a cruel sport. And, yes, it not only is, but as the players get bigger and faster, the collisions increase in their raw manpower.

INSKEEP: Far more boys play football in high school than any other sport - well more than a million each autumn. For many Americans, it's a rite of passage for their sons to be on the football team. Nobody says that you learn to be a man playing baseball, say, or basketball. But that's always been a romantic part of the attraction of American football. But as the risks of football injury and long-term disability become more exposed, will many parents decide that it's better for their boys to play a safer, but less glamorous sport? What price manly?

INSKEEP: Commentator Frank Deford joins us each Wednesday from member station, WSHU, on Fairfield, Connecticut.

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