Safety Helmets Head traumas have been a huge problem for athletes since sports first developed and today the problem has just increasingly gotten worse. There are many issues that the NFL faces, issues they have come up with and issues the players have come up with. Nate Jackson, a former NFL player, explains in his essay, “The NFL’s Head Cases,” how there were new systems put in place for the safety of players. Some of these systems included fines, extra penalties, and warnings for future suspensions.
Furthermore, many want to implement a rule to enforce the safety, but also do not want to change the game completely. Other people think that changing the game is just what the players need to be safer. For example, Lane Wallace explains in her essay, “Do Sports Helmets Help or Hurt,” how she thinks the better solution is to change the culture so that the players are safer with the equipment they are given. There is not a permanent solution, but there are two temporary solutions where to change the culture and to enforce on-field rules, suspensions, and fines.
In “Do Sports Helmets Help or Hurt,” Lane explains how she wants to create a better environment for the players by arguing that players take a greater risk with their safety helmets than without any safety equipment. The phenomenon called “risk compensation” backs up Wallace’s argument; Risk compensation is when “humans respond to additional safety equipment by taking greater risks” (Wallace 232). Furthermore, when athletes take greater risks, they are more likely to end up hurting themselves or someone else.
Wallace also points out that girl athletes are not that much different from boy athletes that their “concussion rate is only 15 percent lower. ” Wallace also argues that even with the technology that is created now is not capable of fully protecting the people it’s made for. Humans wants to excel in their specialized field and want to do better than the person before them, so they tend to push the limits of the equipment they are given.
Even with the precaution of doctors telling athletes to be careful, they still push the limits of everything they do; the culture that someone is born into also makes them who they are to this day. Nate Jack explains in his essay, “The NFL’s Head Cases,” that there is no true solution for this topic without changing the game completely. Some players that played in the position of using their helmet more complained that their efficiency of playing was not at its’ maximum level. The players are complaining about this issue because they are worried that they will get suspended, fined or worse kicked off the team.
As a former player of the Broncos, Jackson was moved from position to position and when he got to tight-end he quickly learned that sometimes there is no choice but to lead with your head. People may get hurt or they may not but the safety gear that is given to the player is not full proof. Jackson also described in his essay there was a time before the game did not even use helmets. While bac then they did receive facial injuries they did not have traumatically fatal head injuries.
As much as Jackson loves the sport he still wants to keep it safe for other players while not changing the face of the game. Furthermore both of these essays want what is best for the players and that is the safety. Jackson states, “As someone who played in the NFL for six years, I’m all for reducing reckless play as much as possible. ” because he has served his time of getting hit and sees the long term effect of helmet to helmet contact. (227) He also realized that sometimes accidents happen to players and it might be because they were defenseless. Jackson 228) For instance some players might be blindsided during a play and that might cause a head trauma. Some of the players just think that technology today can produce a safer equipment but that raises another issue.
Wallace found a phenomenon called “risk compensations” as she explains that humans compensate for the courage they did not have before the safety equipment. (232) Wallace is saying that although we to penalize the players we also need to direct them into a safer direction for taking lower rated risks. With all the technology, we have now it will not do any good for the players if we do not improve by changing the group’s culture. ” ( Wallace 232) Fines, penalties, suspensions, and changing the culture are solutions but if they were implemented together they could make such a greater impact than they could separately. Lastly, these issues are still a problem and for some player it might be too late for them. While these solutions are not perfect we need to start something now before we have to face doing away with the sports all together.
Over time these solutions that Nate Jackson and Lane Wallace have came up with will decrease the number of head traumas. I personally think it starts with the younger age than with the professional league. Mainly, because it is harder to change a person who grew up on one style than raise a new generation on a safer style. But for the players not there needs to be safer rules and seminars just be implemented to every sport. It might not make a change right away but as time goes on it will produce positive outcomes.