How severe does an incident of head trauma have to be to result in degenerative brain disease? We don't know for sure, but a recent study found disturbing evidence in the tissue of deceased football players, wrestlers, hockey players, boxers and military veterans. This evidence suggests less serious head trauma can cause degenerative injury.
This is a major wakeup call to the sport of football.
The NFL, for its part, is considering rules changes such as eliminating kickoffs -- one of the most dangerous plays in the game. But is that enough? Can physics step in and design a new helmet that will better absorb the shock of a hit?
The new helmets certainly won't be pretty. But that will be a tradeoff players and fans will have to accept if they want a safer game, or if parents choose to allow their children to participate in the sport.