People might still want to watch it, of course, and Bud Lite would still want to sponsor it in order to advertise an amazing beer-like material.
But with so many lawsuits against the NFL for head trauma, how much will insurance companies start charging to cover the league? And will young players even want to get in the game?
Two more lawsuits were added Friday to the pile of litigation in Philadelphia against the NFL, according to the advocacy group Player Injury. The new plaintiffs include 50 former players and 28 of their spouses.
Along with earlier lawsuits in the Philly venue, the NFL now faces hundreds of former players here who’ve been crippled by repeated blows to the head. And that’s just from some of the lawsuits among the dozen or so filed nationwide, Player Injury estimates.
Players in the two new lawsuits include Hall of Fame running back Leroy Kelly and former Philadelphia Eagles Britt Hager, Keith Byars, Brian Baldinger, Mike Schad, Brad Quast and Michael Pitts.
All are saying the league lied or kept quiet about the short and long-term risks of repeated thumps to the head, and that the NFL didn’t tell players they could suffer permanent brain damage if they got back in the game too soon.
These lawsuits may be part of a trend. People are growing wary of football injuries. And they may be learning more about them soon, too, if the U.S. Congress passes the “Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act” (H.R.469), sponsored by House Rep. Timothy Bishop, D-NY.
States would have to plan for concussion safety, under this bill – with education about concussions, staff training, release forms, record keeping, support for concussion recovery, safety standards and so forth.
Who could argue against teaching children about head trauma? Eighty percent of mild brain injuries among adolescent athletes already go unrecognized, according to a study released through the National Institutes of Health.
But that education is also a signal flare to parents – saying, “Look, this is what happens to your child’s body when he keeps knocking his skull into an opposing player.”
All of this – the lawsuits, the legislation – could finally make young athletes aware just how widespread and debilitating these injuries really are, even for people who wear ergonomically space-age helmets, and never go pro.
With young people offered a choice of baseball, soccer and basketball, as well as football, they can also study the difference between growing old with bad knees, versus growing senile at age 51.
Sure, football will be here next year. But will it be here in a generation?