Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Will Football Die?

Now that the football season that matters most is over -- an unsatisfying ending because of a flat rematch between LSU and Alabama, but also highlighted by many wonderful games in the bowl season -- it's time to return to a topic looming bigger and darker for football all the time: The unequivocal evidence mounting that the sport is leading to debilitating forms of brain damage for many of the people who play it.

It's easy to make a joke about the direct connection between football and bum brains. Ask anyone who doesn't get football how brainless it is. The irony here is that more than ever, thanks to the media, technology, Max Weber's Protestant Work Ethic, etc., etc., the game is more cerebral than ever (on this see Michael Weinreb concerning Alabama's Nick Saban as the prototypical scientist coach of his era) even as the sheer size and speed of today's players force it into a realm of contact the human body cannot really withstand.

Jonah Lehrer's piece on Grantland is not the first and will be far from the last to share this story. "If the sport of football ever dies," he writes, "it will die from the outside in. The only question now is whether the death has begun."

Read the full article here.

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