Today's New York Times:
Helmets both new and used are not — and have never been — formally tested against the forces believed to cause concussions. The industry, which receives no governmental or other independent oversight, requires helmets for players of all ages to withstand only the extremely high-level force that would otherwise fracture skulls.
Moreover, used helmets worn by the vast majority of young players encountered stark lapses in the industry’s few safety procedures. Some of the businesses that recondition helmets ignored testing rules, performed the tests incorrectly or returned helmets that were still in poor condition. More than 100,000 children are wearing helmets too old to provide adequate protection — and perhaps half a million more are wearing potentially unsafe helmets that require critical examination, according to interviews with experts and industry data.
Today's Philadelphia Inquirer:
The risk of playing football at all levels was driven home over the weekend when a Rutgers University player was paralyzed from the neck down in a game Saturday. It's become clear the way the game is played and officiated must be altered. The unacceptable alternative is to be resigned to more and more players joining the casualty lists.
A recent Harris Interactive poll shows most Americans don't enjoy seeing football players get hurt. They want changes to helmets and other equipment to be made, and they believe players who cause head injuries should be hit with penalties, up to and including suspension.
Blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates:
Samori (his son) didn't play football this year. He wants to go back. We can't, in any good conscience, send him back.
It is, simply, becoming less reputable to cheer on the sport that's literally killing and crippling players before their time. And parents like Coates are taking their kids out of the game. We've already determined that our son will never get our permission to play tackle football. Support for the game is slowly beginning to dry up, because it will never be possible to make the game safe enough without fundamentally altering its character.
That's not to say it will ever completely die. People love sports, and many people love violent sports. But it seems possible to me that the NFL and college football will begin to recede in popularity, something equivalent to the moneymaking-but-still-backwater provinces of pay-per-view (like boxing and ultimate fighting) or minor cable channels (like hockey). And that's fine by me.