The future of football and the wave of brain injuries

We’ve been here before, historians remind us, and we have the pictures to prove it: late-nineteenth-century newspaper and magazine illustrations with captions like “The Modern Gladiators” and “Out of the Game.” The latter of those, which appeared in Harper’s Weekly in 1891, describes a hauntingly familiar scene, with a player kneeling by his downed—and unconscious—comrade, and waving for help, as a medic comes running, water bucket in hand. It accompanied an essay by the Yale coach Walter Camp, the so-called Father of American Football, whose preference for order over chaos led to the primary differentiating element between the new sport and its parent, English rugby: a line of scrimmage, with discrete plays, or downs, instead of scrums.

What is old is new

Camp viewed football as an upper-class training ground, not as a middle-class spectator sport. But the prevalence of skull fractures soon prompted unflattering comparisons with boxing and bullfighting. Another image, which ran in the New York World, depicted a skeleton wearing a banner labelled “Death,” and was titled “The Twelfth Player in Every Football Game.” Campaigns in Chicago and Georgia to outlaw the sport were covered breathlessly in the New York dailies. That was in 1897, “the peak of sensationalized football violence,” as Michael Oriard, a former offensive lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs who is now an associate dean at Oregon State University, explains in “Reading Football: How the Popular Press Created an American Spectacle.”

…What was missing from this picture was the effect of all that impact on the brain. You got your “bell rung,” they used to say. You’re “just a little dinged up.” This was not merely macho sideline-speak; it was, as recently as a decade and a half ago, the language of the N.F.L.’s leading doctors. Elliot Pellman, who served until 2007 as the Jets team physician, once told a reporter that veteran players are able to “unscramble their brains a little faster” than rookies are, “maybe because they’re not afraid after being dinged.”

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., is the name for a condition that is believed to result from major collisions—or from the accumulation of subconcussions that are nowhere near as noticeable, including those incurred in practice. It was first diagnosed, in 2002, in the brain of the Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame center Mike Webster, who died of a heart attack after living out of his truck for a time. It was next diagnosed in one of Webster’s old teammates on the Steelers’ offensive line, Terry Long, who killed himself by drinking antifreeze. Long overlapped, at the end of his career, with Justin Strzelczyk, who was also found to have C.T.E. after he crashed, fatally, into a tanker truck, while driving the wrong way down the New York Thruway….

…The fastest running on a football field often occurs during kickoffs and punts, when some members of the defending team are able to build up forty or more yards of head-on steam before a possible point of impact…. One proposed reform that I’ve heard about would involve removing this element from the game, through automatic fair catches, or at least neutering it, by shortening the distance travelled by the kicking team. The most frequent head-butting on a football field, meanwhile, occurs at the line of scrimmage, where linemen often begin in what’s known as a three-point stance: crouching and leaning forward on one hand, and then exploding upward in a meeting of crowns. Another suggestion: banning the stance and requiring linemen to squat, sumo style. And then, more important, there’s simply teaching proper tackling technique. As one recently retired player put it to me, “Instead of telling a kid to knock the snot out, you say, ‘Knock the wind out of him.’ ”

“The reality is you’re going to need about twenty fixes that reduce risk by a couple of percentage points each,” Chris Nowinski said. “There’s still going to be four downs. Still going to be a football. Still going to be eleven guys on the field—and touchdowns. Other than that, everything’s in play.” . . .

…How many of the men on the field in the Super Bowl will be playing with incipient dementia? “To me, twenty per cent seems conservative,” Nowinski said. C.T.E., as of now, can be observed only with an autopsy. The ability to detect it with brain scans of living people is at least a couple of years off. “It’s not going to be five per cent,” Nowinski went on. “The reality is we’ve already got three per cent of the brains of people who have died in the last two years confirmed, and that’s not alarming enough to people. What number is going to be the tipping point? People are O.K. with three per cent. They may look sideways at ten per cent. Maybe it needs to be fifty per cent.”

That’s from a piece from this week’s New Yorker, by Ben McGrath. Not much new is covered on this subject; indeed, much of it is giving deserved credit to the New York Times’s Alan Schwartz, who has made this subject his personal question. But it’s a worthy reminder of the serious risks inherent in our favorite sport and which we are only just beginning to understand.

I’ve written about this subject before, and I am still sure that the brain-injury/concussion problem remains the most serious threat to football, and it will not be resolved by tweets from Greg Aiello, the NFL’s spokesman. Yet — and this may sound harsh — I don’t really care about the risks to current NFL players. Like professional boxing, no one can, with a straight face, say that they don’t understand the risk of playing such a dangerous, high speed collision sport, and they are all compensated handsomely for it. (I have more sympathy for older NFL players who played before high salaries and before these risks were well understood.) Indeed, I think the NFL as spectator sport will continue to survive through more “Black and Blue Sundays” or even serious injuries like paralysis, potentially even a live-on-the-field death. Some quick cuts to show Roger Goodell solemnly addressing “the problem” with fines and rule changes will be enough to placate the masses and change the narrative on ESPN back to who will rally for the postseason.

But the more serious threat to football — and the one I care about more than whether a very narrow class of high-profile, high-risk, high-reward professionals are making a bad judgment by playing the game — is whether the evidence shows that amateur football can cause lasting, long-term brain damage. The big stories will come out of the NFL and, to a lesser extent, major college football, but if in ten years it can be demonstrated that four years of high school football significantly increases the risk of brain injuries and long-term disorders, then football really will have no future.

And yet… as McGrath observes, maybe it’s not just football — maybe it’s sport in general, or simply us:

In fact, reading the Concussion Blog exposes you to a steady drip of news that is not so good for your anterior insula, the part of the brain associated with worry. Rugby, lacrosse, baseball: concussions are seemingly epidemic everywhere. The problem with having access to better information about the risks we all take is that most leisure pursuits start to seem inherently irresponsible. What are we to do about skiing, bicycling, sledding?

“Hockey, by the way, has a higher incidence of concussions than football,” Dr. Maroon told me. This is true of women’s college hockey, at least, which doesn’t even allow body-checking. (Women, in general, seem substantially more prone to concussions, and explanations vary, from weaker necks to a greater honesty in self-diagnosis.) … Hockey may now have a concussion crisis on its hands, with the N.H.L.’s best and most marketable player, Sidney Crosby, having been blindsided during the sport’s annual Winter Classic; attempting to play again, four days later, he was drilled into the boards, and he hasn’t played since. I play hockey twice a week myself, and was once concussed, or so I now believe, while skating outside, on a frozen pond, without a helmet.

Troy Polamalu suggested soccer as an alternative for squeamish fans. But soccer players collide sometimes, too (Taylor Twellman, a forward with the New England Revolution, recently retired because of ongoing symptoms from a neck injury sustained in 2008), and the ball is harder than you think. The g-forces involved in most headers are equivalent to minor car crashes. “Twenty-five years from now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see everybody on a soccer field wearing some kind of headgear,” Michael MacCambridge said.

To err is human, or so it seems.

  • Gus

    I hate to say it, but football is an endangered species. I love it and played it growing up, but my grandchildren won’t be playing the game because it will be outlawed. And probably rightly so.

  • Dimitri

    For what it’s worth, a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine (1998) found that “basic incidence was 0.96 concussions per team per season. The overall incidence was 0.6 per 1000 athlete-exposures for men, and 0.4 per 1000 athlete-exposures for women. By concussion grade, there were 21 (72%) grade 1, 8 (28%) grade 2, and no grade 3 concussions. These findings suggest that concussions are more common in soccer than anticipated and that acute head injuries may have potential for long-term neuropsychologic changes.” This study was based on two seasons of college (ACC) varsity soccer. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9548117 I would guess that those results are much lower than what you would find in a study of ACC football.

  • Brad

    I don’t think football will go anywhere. As pointed out in the post, people have been worried about the dangers of football to the human body since the sport first began, and it hasn’t stopped anyone.

    Everyone knows that boxing is an incredibly dangerous sport, but it hasn’t gone anywhere. The only reason for its decline is because of poor management at the top levels of the sport and the fact that a 6’3″ 260 lbs. athlete that 40 years ago would have competed as a heavyweight is now playing OLB for the Steelers instead. Guys like Ray Lewis, James Harrison, etc. are violent individuals who have a skill society rewards, and they would find an outlet for that skill regardless of what sport it is.

    Lastly, I think the growth in popularity of sports like Mixed Martial Arts just goes to prove the opposite. The sport is growing at an incredible rate, and mainly due TO its violence and the possibility of injuries. I don’t think football will go anywhere.

  • Chris (not Brown)

    The issue is not the game. The issue is with the equipment. The technology currently exists to have virtually concussion-proof helmets. The problem is that cost is prohibitive especially for high school and small college programs. I have tried one of these helmets on and it feels exactly like a motorcycle helmet which is designed for high speed, high impact collisions. Changing the rules of the game and not improving protective equipment is a more cost effective way of preventing injuries, although not the best way. Modern football has been played virtually unchanged for 50 years. Why the sudden explosion of head injuries? Because the cheap, crappy helmets companies like Schutt and Riddell cram down our throats have not kept up with the bigger, faster athletes. What a shame that the NFL and the NCAA will fall for this garbage. Protect the game by protecting the kids.

  • Josh Paddock

    Chris,

    How do the “virtually concussion-proof helmets” stop the brain from moving inside of the skull? From my understanding that’s a large part of what causes concussions. Are they similar to the restraint system NASCAR uses?

  • http://brophyfootball.blogspot.com brophy

    Wonderful article, Chris.
    Your attention paid to this issue and keeping it at the forefront should be applauded

  • http://smartfootball.com Chris

    Chris: What if football was played without helmets, or just with protective, padded headgear? I think you’d see a lot more cosmetic injuries (missing teeth, etc) but I’m tempted to think that concussions and repeated head impacts like on the offensive line would decrease.

  • Maz

    I grew up playing football but it’s just too dangerous now. I will not let my children play but if grown adults want to cause themselves permanent brain damage in front of millions of people I will watch them do it.

  • SRS

    Maz, I hope you’ll also keep your children safe from the dangers of playing soccer, baseball, lacrosse, softball, basketball, driving in cars, airplanes, riding bikes, motorcycles, motocross, martial arts, crossing busy streets, hiking, gymnastics, track and field…

  • Maz

    SRS: How good do you feel about the idea of your children playing eight or twelve years of football, from middle school through high school or college? I don’t feel very good.

  • SKOHR

    Great article Chris.

    It is scary to think that this game we all love could become too dangerous for it’s own good. However, I think with adjustments to equipment and small tweaks to the rules it can be played more safely but nothing will ever eradicate the risk of injury. As Chris and SRS pointed out though, almost everything we do puts us at some sort of risk. I believe that youth coaches should also be instructed on how to teach proper tackling. The poor Rutgers student Eric LeGrand is now paralyzed because he used poor technique when he led with his head down while trying to tackle a kick returner.

  • Jim

    I am of the belief football will go the way of Boxing over the next 30 years or so and as you said in the article its not so much the top levels but the lack of participants at the HS level that will do it in. As more is learned about the subject insurance rates for the schools will only increase making the sport to expensive to play at that level. Also at this level you are going to have “white flight” where middle and upper middle class parents will not allow their sons to play the sport again putting pressure on budgets of high schools. There is also Title IX issues that are starting to pop up with a court recently ruling in PA that HS football booster clubs violate Title IX as well as the very real possiblity that propartionlity will make its way to the HS level. All of these things make football harder and harder for HS to justifiy the budgets for football.

    Also a response to SRS. I know that is the clever thing to say when anyone mentions the risk of football but lets be real Soccer players, Baseball players and Basketball players are not dying in their 40 and 50s and having early onset Alztimers. They are not walking on replaced knees at anywhere near the level of football players. The risks of playing football are much greater than all of the activites you mentioned.

  • roach

    “There is also Title IX issues that are starting to pop up with a court recently ruling in PA that HS football booster clubs violate Title IX as well as the very real possiblity that propartionlity will make its way to the HS level.”

    It’s one thing for Title Nine to kill the wrestling program, but if it starts to impact football to that degree, you will see an incredible push back. Politically, Title nine will be gutted before football.

    Now, the head injury issue may very well kill the game, particularly if, as Chris says, CTE is found in a large number of high school football players.

    As a father, I’ve decided to encourage my son to play flag football for a few more years in the hopes that all of the attention on CTE will improve helmet technology.

  • Adam H

    Bah, football’s not going anywhere. I’ll let my kids play until they’re old enough to actually hurt and get hurt – and then they’re old enough to make their own decision. Not letting your kids play football in HS or college? People like that are the reason the average 30 year-old lives with his parents. You gotta let kids grow up. There are MUCH worse things that a kid can do than play football, and if they’re playing football, there’s less time to do them.

    Just make safe helmets mandatory. Everything will be fine. Stop freaking out.

  • Tony

    Just a thought, how much do you think the prevalence in concussions in the NFL is related to the fact that they still don’t mandate buckled chinstraps or mouthpieces?

  • http://brophyfootball.blogspot.com brophy

    As alluded to earlier, many of the concussed players cannot trace a brain injury to a singular knockout shot, but rather thousands of collisions (lineman to lineman) culmulated through practices

  • http://nnailling.tumblr.com Nathan

    As public outcry gets louder (and it will), football will have to adjust its rules and equipment. How significant these changes are will affect the sport’s popularity. I think that as long as big guys are blocking and tackling each other, the sport will go on.

    This CBA situation could have a bigger impact on popularity than concussions, in the short term. I believe that baseball still hasn’t recovered from the strike it had in the 90’s.

    The powers that be in football have always managed to evolve the sport (whether by rules changes or schematics) to change with the times. For all of us fan, I guess all we can hope as that the powers continue to do the same.

  • http://www.spreadoffense.com Spread Offense

    Great post. There’s nothing more painful or disheartening to watch than when a player is knocked unconscious on the football field. But like Brophy mentioned above, it’s the continuous small to medium sized collisions that accumulate like straws on a camels back that are so hard to understand. For all the positive attributes this sport affords those associated with it – head injuries brings it all down to earth in a hurry.

  • Ross

    I am a HC in Illinois. Our team trainer is Dustin Fink, the one mentioned in the article. He is a tremendous asset to our program and he has made me very aware of concussions and their impact. He is a great resource for anyone that needs it.

    He runs a blog called The Concussion Blog. Be sure to check it out.

  • CoachCutt

    The athlete has evolved faster than the equipment designed to protect him and until the equipment manufacturers evolve as rapidy, injuries are going to happean. Its the nature of sport and the scales need to be balanced. The technology does exist but the profit margin isnt as large thats why it hasnt happeaned yet. Sad but true, money still rules.

  • CoachPhillips

    This is a tough issue. Football is way too ingrained in our society to be banished. I think the newer rules about keeping players out are positive ones. I think the push to make equipment better is also good. There will be no way to take the danger out of the game. I do worry about young kids. However, I think the focus on the pro game is a bit over done. There are probably hundreds of professions that are more dangerous that no one cares about, and none of those people are paid millions of dollars. I’m not sure that I suffered any brain damage in the 6 years I played football, but I do know that the game saved my life so to speak. I’d be working in one of those places OSHA has to visit often had I not been inspired by the game and my coaches.

  • GaryG

    I have to echo at least part of Gus’s point, above. My wife and I just welcomed to our family our second and likely last child, a second daughter, and I must admit that I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to confront the question of whether I’d encourage a son to take up a sport I love but that might have terrible consequences for his health.

  • Scott

    This is an important issue – but its an ‘in-vogue’ issue right now.

    We as a society are concerned right now with liability & safety above all else. At the same time we are bemoaning the lack of character, team-work, and fitness levels of our youth. We want a sanitized world.

    You can’t have both – if you want a fitter, more active, more socially aware young population you have to accept that there will be injuries. But these injuries have to be looked at in a larger picture:

    We shouldn’t be asking how many youths are suffering brain damage from playing football, but what percentage.

    We also need to compare this to the health effects of them sitting in front of the Playstation for hours on end? Or what might happen if they fall, helmeted, onto the ice during skating lessons.

    The sport leading the charge in head/concussion injuries each year is SOCCER. Yet they aren’t overly concerned, and no one is talking about the end of soccer. Stories in the NYT, and by popular ‘trendy’ columnists may be blinding us and over-sensationalizing the issue.

    The true culprit here is the Madden-culture of big hits, over safe tackling.

  • Rafael

    Title IX has already affected fotball and has not been gutted politically as a previous post suggests. There are tons of colleges that have dropped football due to Title IX and it means many young men have less scholarships for college. Football has no female equivalent sport like basketball, soccer, or even baseball (with softball) so with 50 plus scholarships in football many IAA and division 2 schools that don’t get the revenues of division 1 from football can’t justify matching those 50 some scholarships. As a result in california the non major division 1 state schools have almost all dropped football. Meanwhile the high schools have increased and the number of football players have increased but the scholarships have greatly decreased. Its something nobody talks about because your labeled a sexist if you don’t support title ix. Meanwhile many young athletic men with qualifying SAT or ACT scores and good GPA’s have no where to go. Now with the concussions getting all this political attention and support you could see even more football programs scrapped. Not just on the college level but at the high school level. Chris is on to something this could be the death knell for the sport we love because if the high school level falls there will a major decline in the quality of division 1 and the NFL and the sport goes the way of boxing.

  • Coach Mike

    Troy Polamalu put forward a very interesting quote in the McGrath article:

    “In the past, it was a style of ball that was three yards and a cloud of dust, so you didn’t see too many of these big hits, because there wasn’t so much space between players….I mean, with the passing game now, you get four-wide-receiver sets, sometimes five-wide-receiver sets. You get guys coming across the middle, you get zone coverages. You know, there’s more space between these big hits, so there’s more opportunity for these big hits.”

    The mainstream media would probably miss the subtleties of Troy’s argument, but is he on to something with his point about the proliferation of zone coverages to defend against multi-receiver attacks?

    A couple of points to consider:

    – Disproportionate share of defensive concussions borne by DBs: DBs accounted for over 50% of defensive player concussions this past year (Source: The Concussion Blog)

    – Concussion contact points: 70% of concussions result from hits to the front of the helmet (Source: MIT Technology Review). My guess would be that frontal collision events would occur more frequently in a zone coverage system versus a man coverage system.

    Of course, there’s nowhere near enough data on this to show correlation (much less causation), but I thought Troy touched on an interesting and unexplored aspect of this important issue.

  • Frank

    Good article. Yes, pro players assume the risk of brain injury, but shouldn’t the NFL also? The NFL must be held accountable for the health care of former players. I give Goodell credit for stopping the resistance — with bogus studies — against the clear, mounting evidence that concussions are a serious issue. More change will come once the true long term cost burden of these concussions is equitably assumed by the NFL. If you profit from these violent impacts, then you must pay for these violent impacts.

  • Blair

    As pointed out, this is a serious problem at all levels of football, and most other contact sports as well.

    Proper coaching on the techniques of blocking and tackling can help prevent head and neck injuries, but will never eliminate them.

    The newer rules outlawing shots to the head will certainly help. Too many kids use their helmets as a weapon, so leading with the head to block or tackle should be eliminated.

    There will always be an inherent risk of injury in any sport, and it is unreasonable to think the dangers can be eliminated. However, we should do everything we can to reduce them.

    That said, I would not favor eliminating any sport because there is some risk. There is risk to almost everything we do. It is foolish to think we should eliminate every risky activity.

    The NFL and colleges should certainly provide medical care as needed as suggested by Frank.

  • http://www.spreadoffense.com Spread Offense

    @Coach Mike – that’s very true what Polamalu states, lets face it a hit is simple physics: Energy = 1/2 MV^2 – the best way to increase Velocity is to have a fast object travel a further surface area prior to contact – increasing momentum… when you use the entire 53.3 yard horizontally of a field as opposed to ‘between the hashes’, you’re setting up harder collisions.

  • Reinhard

    Also with a player sitting in zone coverage and watching the QBs eyes and chasing down the ball, he is travelling in the opposite direction as the receiver upon contact; effectively doubling the impact for both players.
    Add to that the fact that the receiver can not defend himself because he has to catch the ball. That’s why these hits are so much more devastating than hits in the scrum, or tackles resulting from man coverage where both players are travelling almost in the same direction at the same speed: the collision is minimal.
    In my mind bracing for an impact protects your body tremendously from damage and receivers are often unprotected.

    In rugby you can NOT;
    Hit someone when they are airborne.
    Hit someone above the shoulders.
    Hit someone without wrapping up.

    These three simple rules lead to much safer collisions and tackles.
    DBs are also asked to take on blocks from lineman, tackle big TE, FB, and RB, but they are small guys. 5 10 185 lbs isn’t unreasonable for an NFL db… that’s the same size as your average joe right out there on the NFL gridiron.

  • Reinhard

    Oh also in rugby you can NOT:
    Hit below the knees.
    Dive at their legs from behind.
    Dive at their legs from the side.

    This eliminates a significant amount of injuries. However it is still a great intense hard hitting sport!

  • hall

    I am dismayed by the idea of a future where football is banned. I played football for 10 years of my life, from 7th grade until college, and I know I sustained some form of head trauma. I was never diagnosed with a concussion but I never told a coach or trainer about any symptoms anyways. I am upset by the concept of football going away because the joy of playing football was the most glorious I have experienced. I have been asked if, knowing what I know now, I would let my sons play football. I would have to say yes, because I still feel the lessons learned and experiences had playing the game are unmatched.

  • Dennis

    I’m enjoying the topic and the thoughtful responses. What I would like to contribute is simply that much has changed in football since the 1970’s and 1980’s in football. When I played football my first year of college in 1979, we started the summer with old fashioned dense foam pad helmets, and then we were given the new air bladder helmets from a company called Bike. It was a profound improvement, probable akin to my older brother when they went from suspension, or “bell ringer” helmets to dense pad.

    In high school, we were taught to lead with the face mask, and aim for the head of the opposing player. we received small concussions or “bell ringers” most days in practice, and certainly in every game.
    When we went to the Bike helmet in college, not only was it significantly more comfortable because we didn’t feel a need to get it as tight on our heads as possible, but it virtually eliminated all the small concussions.

    When I got into coaching youth football in 2004, I consulted with my old offensive line coach, and found out that coaching philosophies had completely changed. He said they were “trying to get the head out of football”, and lineman now lead with the palm of the hand. Tackling was also taught in a way to try and avoid the head as a weapon or as a target.

    Furthermore, I can attest to the fact that players who get a “bell ringer” today are removed from the game, and generally have to see a doctor before we let them play again.

    I would contend that professionals who played 10 or more seasons of pro football in the 70’s and 80’s and have pugilist dementia are one thing, amatuer players today are something else entirely. Statistically, tackle football has less severe injuries than soccer, gymnastics, cheer leading or girls basketball. Until players get in junior high, there are rarely any injuries that we see in high school or college, and even then they are few and far between. I firmly believe the benefits of playing tackle football far outweigh the risk.

    In conclusion, not only can you involve your child in tackle football with every expectation of brain safety, but I know of no one suffering from the mal-effects of all the concussions we received way back in the day. Perhaps they’ll show up somewhere down the line, but I strongly believe that whatever does show up for us, the next generation and following will see only a small fraction of similar problems based upon today’s equipment and teaching.

  • Bill

    I must admit that I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to confront the question of whether I’d encourage a son to take up a sport I love but that might have terrible consequences for his health.
    ———–

    Don’t look too hard at cheerleading, then. It has a shocking high rate of head and neck injuries. Women’s basketball and volleyball are infamous for blowing out ACLs. Gymnastics has problems with both. No sport is “safe” when performed at peak levels.

    Hell, the marathon is run in honor of the athlete who died upon completion of the first one!

  • Bill

    Chris is on to something this could be the death knell for the sport we love because if the high school level falls there will a major decline in the quality of division 1 and the NFL and the sport goes the way of boxing.
    ———

    It would have to fall a long way. There are enough high school players in Texas alone to supply Division 1 with a barely noticeable drop in overall talent. Generally speaking, there are somewhere north of 2,000,000 high school players each year, and another 20,000 in college. That all feeds into a pool of 1500 professional players, with maybe 500 rotating through in any given year.

    The NFL has a one to two order of magnitude buffer to college, and college has a two order of magnitude buffer to high school. There’s room for a lot of decreased participation.

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  • HSVAccountant

    From the Auburn Glomerata 1898, The Season of ’97
    “While Auburn was struggling in Sewanee, a horrible accident had occured in Atlanta. Georgia’s plucky full back while trying to stop the onward rush of Virginia’s might giants, lost his life. VonGammon died upholding the honor of his institution. A truer gentleman, a more honorable and plucky player never graced a gridiron. He was a true Southern gentleman, loved, honored, and worshipped by his friends and respected by his opponents. Georgia, your loss was Auburn’s, was the South’s; was the athletic world’s.
    His death ended, for the season, football at Georgia; at Auburn. Without the Thanksgiving game with Georgia, the season had lost its charm – Hamlet without Hamlet. ……
    As to football in the future at Auburn-Auburn is on deck. Next season will find her as strong as of old, reaady to meet all competitors; for football is a game that must, and will, survive wherever athletic games are played.
    A captain and manger have been lected for the enusing year. Mr. Heisman has been engaged to coach the team; this within itself assures to Auburn a winning team. Support them, boys, in the future as you have done in the past, and a team second to none is guaranteed.”
    G.O. Dickey

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  • Pdog6

    What a shame. We have a major obesity crisis that nobody is really addressing. Meanwhile, we’ll end up banning the greatest game ever played. This is why America will lose its next major war.