American Football is One of the most Popular and Favorite Sports in Many Countries

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Updated: Aug 15, 2023
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So, how was football invented in the first place? The sport of American football, originally new in 1892, has roots in two other sports, soccer and rugby, both of which have enjoyed long-time popularity worldwide. It was not until the 1880s that a great rugby player from Yale University, Walter Camp, started working on rules changes that slowly transformed rugby into a new game called American football. Walter Camp, known as the “Father of American Football,” was an American football player, coach, and sports writer.

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He also created the line of scrimmage and the system of downs.

Camp was a crucial figure in the early history of American football. Rugby, which bears a considerable resemblance to American football, has its own concerns, one of which is the long-term impact of concussions. This worry led a team in England, the Sorensons, to experiment with new technology to help protect the safety of its players and, by extension, American football players. The Sorensons began using a pioneering U.S. system that provides a detailed analysis of knocks to the head. They employed stick-on sensors, the size of a Band-Aid, placed behind the ear, which measure the amount, angle, and severity of each blow. The Sorensons were the first professional rugby team to test this new technology, ensuring it works effectively to help prevent concussions in the future. According to a study from “Scents And Sensibility: A Molecular Logic of Olfactory Perception and the Extra Sensory Perception” by Gershon Dublon and Joseph A. Paradiso, featured in Scientific American, there are sensors all around us. They also discuss how human brains perceive things differently, such as how we interpret reality and the external world. Concussions occur frequently across many sports, but they are most common in football.

American football has the highest rate of concussion of any other contact sport played in the U.S. It might be hard to believe today, but a century ago, boxing was the most popular sport in the U.S. Championship bouts attracted more spectators than what any NFL stadium does today. However, boxing’s popularity declined due to several factors, one of which is the perception of the sport as barbaric because it has caused significant brain damage to many players. After years of being hit in the head, many boxers developed dementia and depression, part of a disease called dementia pugilistica. Nowadays, dementia pugilistica has a new name: CTE, also known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This condition leads to symptoms such as confusion, aggression, and depression. CTE is not exclusive to boxing; it is found in an increasing number of football players as well. A study by the Department of Veteran Affairs and Boston University found that 87 out of 91 former NFL players tested positive for CTE.

CTE is a brain disease that, according to current research, is caused by repetitive head trauma. Brain scans can detect signs of CTE, but it can only be confirmed posthumously. Recently, former NFL player Ronny Jenkins told CNN that he has been suffering from CTE, which led him to experience depression and suicidal instincts. The disease causes a protein called tau to form around blood vessels in the frontal lobe. Stage 2 sufferers may experience impulsivity or depression, while stage 3 symptoms include confusion and memory loss as the tau protein spreads to other parts of the brain. Stage 4 is marked by dementia as the nerve cells in the brain die. In the final stages of CTE, the brain withers to roughly half the size of a normal one. A federal judge has approved a $1 billion settlement between the NFL and thousands of players.

The money will go toward medical exams, concussion research, and payment for damages. Every football season, Americans are keen to watch their favorite teams compete. While they enjoy the games, the disappointment of a team’s loss is quite familiar. Perhaps NFL players feel the same way — they relish playing football but not the risk of concussions from hard hits. Concussions have prompted many football players to retire, dealing with memory loss, mood swings, and constant anger. Repeated history of concussions can lead to chronic changes in brain function and structure. Even though football players wear helmets to protect their heads, the harsh reality is that these helmets are designed to shield them against skull fractures, not concussions. The brain, being the most complex and important organ of the human body, warrants the utmost protection.

The brain produces our thoughts, feelings, actions, memories, and experience of the world. Recently, researchers have experimented with attaching sensors to helmets and people’s skin. Identifying when an athlete may have suffered a concussion is a challenge faced by NFL teams, which is why scientists have been testing sensors in helmets. According to Gershon Dublon and Joseph A. Paradiso’s ‘Extra Sensory Perception’ in Scientific American, researchers have found that a special mouthguard, fitted with sensors, accelerometers, and gyroscopes like those in cell phones, is particularly helpful. As youth participation wanes and concerns over trauma increase, the future of the game may look different, with scientists testing safer helmets for American teenage football players.

Helmets were originally intended to help American football players protect their heads. A study, organized by a group of researchers at the Florida Center for Headache and Sports Neurology and the Florida State University College of Medicine, tested the effectiveness of 10 leading football helmets. About 37% of NFL players use Schutt helmets, while 60% wear Riddell, according to the companies. American football has the highest rate of concussions of any contact sport played in the U.S. The NFL has attempted to reduce the risks to players by changing the rules and supporting research into the next generation of protective gear. One of the problems faced by NFL teams is the ability to identify when an athlete may have suffered a concussion. The researchers have been using dummies, some wearing helmets and some not, to test helmet protection. Sensors were also used to help measure linear and rotational response to a series of 12 mph impacts; the test was repeated 300 times. American coaches have been trying to make football safer to play for NFL players.

They have been using sensors to help them detect whether NFL players are healthy enough to play in the game. Some NFL players will be wearing sensors in their helmets that will monitor and record in real time every blow and bump that they take to the head. It is like a paging system that alerts team physicians if a hit rises above a certain threshold. The headgear filled with sensors is the latest improvement in a protective technology that dates back to the 19th century. Over the coming years, football helmets tended to be made more from leather, with small innovations like small holes in the ear flaps to improve hearing. Seahawks’ coach, Pete Carroll, mentions that the tackling system they have been using and teaching for the last four years of the Seahawks has been emphasized. The Seahawks’ tackling system features shoulder tackling and a renewed emphasis on eliminating head contact. Coach Carroll says that he has found the new style of tackling to be successful in the NFL. The team is passionate about teaching this style of tackling because they want to keep the standards of the game high while making the game as safe as possible. The Seahawks are a shoulder-leverage tackling team, and they have found that they can practice and drill without pads or helmets. For the new safe tackling system, they have been training and developing in shorts and t-shirts. This new method of tackling was inspired by rugby players worldwide who emphasize shoulder tackling and avoiding head contact. The Seahawks’ tackle coaching points include: “eyes through the thighs,” “wrap and squeeze,” and “drive for 5.” If necessary, the ball carrier usually goes down immediately with Seahawks’ tackles. Some high school football coaches have their teams wear padding on the outside of their helmets to help prevent concussions.

For example, Midland Christian School’s head football coach, Greg McClendon, is not taking any chances or risks. He says, “As we learn more and more over the years about concussions, their repetitive occurrence is becoming prevalent.” Throughout the year, all varsity and JV football players are now wearing guardian caps over their helmets during practice. The padding gives football players additional safety, preventing potential concussions or long-term effects. Recent studies have found brain disease in 96% of former NFL players tested. Many young athletes dream of playing in the NFL, but most do not consider the risk of brain disease. The NFL has been trying to prevent brain injuries by changing the rules, but it’s not a certain solution. Players showing signs of confusion are no longer permitted to re-enter games.

The kick-off has been moved 5 yards down the field, resulting in a significant increase in touchbacks. Rules have also been modified concerning head-to-head hits. On defense, players are not allowed to use their heads or helmets as a weapon. Similarly, if you are a running back, you can’t lead with your head to hit another player’s head. These actions are the easiest targets for change. While it’s hard to eliminate concussions entirely, many occur randomly during unexpected plays.

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American football is one of the most popular and favorite sports in many countries. (2022, Nov 09). Retrieved from