BreakingModern — The state of college football has never been better — schools are reporting record revenues, buoyed by new lucrative TV deals and revenue sharing through the sparkling new College Football Playoff. Never before have so many people wanted to tune in on Saturdays to watch college teams get after it.
But that could change very quickly.
A lot has been made of the concussion crisis in the NFL, but not nearly as much in the college game. According to Jon Solomon of CBS Sports, college football players suffer six unreported concussions per each diagnosed head trauma.
And the effects of concussions aren’t gone once you’re cleared to play — they can stay with you for a lifetime. CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy for you science nerds out there, is the most common of the degenerative neurological diseases caused by concussions and repeated sub-concussive hits. Its debilitating effects are well documented — depression, suicide and aggressive tendencies have all been linked to the disease. CTE made headlines recently with the death of former NFL all-pro Junior Seau, who took his own life at the age of 43 just two years ago after being plagued by the disease.
According to a recent article on the PBS website, 76 of 79 deceased NFL players were found to have brain disease. That’s an incredible statistic. If further testing produces similar results, there would be but little choice for college football and the NFL alike to implement major rule changes to prevent so much repeated contact. It’s not just about the diagnosed concussions — the hits add up. The cash cow that is NCAA football has made it easy to forget how serious the consequences of playing college football can be.
It’s hard to say how the NCAA and the NFL could change the game — the nature of football dictates constant contact. Perhaps helmet technology will improve to the point where it significantly lessens the risk of diseases like CTE. If not, we could see a watered-down version of the game in just a few short years, to the delight of MLB, the NBA and the NHL.
We might lose those goose bumps we get on Saturdays in the fall, but if this testing yields similar results, player safety needs to become a priority, not an afterthought.
For BMod, I’m Ben Leonard.
All Screenshots: BMod Staff