I’ve written my share about concussions on this site. I have what I don’t consider radical rule changes in mind to deal with this subject of debilitating injury to football players of all levels and ages. But a story by Benjamin Wallace-Wells from New York Magazine has me thinking of radically revising those contemplated rule changes.
Wallace-Wells writes that the Giants may have targeted the 49ers’ punt returner Kyle Williams because of his history of having been concussed several times in the past. Williams was labeled the goat in the 49ers loss because of his gaffe of a punt in the fourth quarter and his fumble while returning a punt in the overtime.
The NFL should immediately institute an ultra-punitive system for helmet-to-helmet contact, modeled after world soccer’s game law of straight red card suspension.
It was revealed this week that former Tennessee Vol Jamal Lewis and three other ex-NFL players are suing the NFL over concussions. Among other claims, they argue that the league knew as early as the 1920s of the potential for concussions to harm players, and concealed the known dangers from coaches, trainers, players, and the public until June 2010 when the NFL publically acknowledged the health threats with warnings to players and teams. There are at least four other similar lawsuits against the NFL that include former players as plaintiffs. The worst-case scenario is that the potential collective liability of the NFL from these legal actions could threaten the viability of the league, akin to product liability lawsuits that have resulted in severe damages to many large companies.