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The Cloud Over Football

Paulus Textor Wrote: Sep 09, 2012 2:16 PM
From a legal standpoint, football as currently performed raises interesting issues. The law of torts recognizes differences in injuries incurred in inherently-dangerous sports, and identical injuries incurred under different circumstances. For example, if I tackle you on the street and cause a concussion, I am liable for damages. If I tackle you on a football field, and cause a concussion, I am (in most cases) not liable, since you understood and accepted the dangers of the game prior to taking part in it. The same goes for other dangerous activities, such as skiing or hang-gliding. The issue is whether, when new information comes forth showing the dangers of football are MORE than a reasonable man would grasp (cont'd)...
Paulus Textor Wrote: Sep 09, 2012 2:20 PM
(cont'd)....the NFL is open to lawsuits for NOT changing the rules in order to reduce or eliminate such injuries.

The problem is compounded by the nature of football, in which, if you ask a defensive player if he INTENDS to cause pain in tackling the ballcarrier, his answer is, "heck yeah." It's considered "part of the game."

The same principles apply to other dangerous (but popular) sports like auto racing. Where is the balance between accepting possible injury, and changing the nature of an inherently rough sport?

Interesting stuff.

A few weeks ago, a 25-year-old man was found in his car in Tampa, Fla., dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It was a sad but ordinary story except for two facts: The man, O.J. Murdock, was a wide receiver for the NFL's Tennessee Titans, and the wound was not to the head but the chest.

Exactly why Murdock killed himself is impossible to know. But his case inevitably brings to mind other former NFL players who committed suicide -- particularly Dave Duerson of the Chicago Bears. He feared he was suffering from brain damage and shot himself in...