Tackling the NFL’s biggest issue


Mr. Damon J. Moritz HO

060909-N-9693M-010 Annapolis, Md. (Sept. 9, 2006) – Navy Quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada is tackled by Massachusetts defensive back James Ihedigbo, #7, and linebacker Charles Walker, #11. The Navy Midshipmen (2-0) triumphed over the UMass Minutemen (1-1) 21-20. U.S. Navy photo by Damon J. Moritz (RELEASED)

By Marc Ramirez, Staff Writer

Recently Seattle Seahawks wide receiver, Ricardo Lockette took a violent hit at AT&T stadium by Dallas Cowboys safety Jeff Heath. Lockette sustained a season ending neck injury and as of right now, his career is up in the air.

This can only beg the question, is the NFL or the sport of football safe anymore? Football is a contact sport; whether you like it or not players will be subject to getting hit throughout the course of the game. Such hits could potentially lead to concussions, broken bones, ligament tears, and much worse. But the problem shouldn’t be with the game itself, but how it’s played.

For years now the NFL has been cracking down on how to make football safer, but it hasn’t exactly worked out. In 2013 Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley took a violent helmet to helmet hit from Cleveland Browns safety Tashaun Gipson. The hit ended up bruising Finley’s spinal cord and ending his NFL career. Since the incident the NFL has tried to clean up hitting and try to outlaw helmet to helmet tackling by enforcing a 15 yard penalty on any opposing player who does such a thing. But does flagging a player and possibly a small fine help clean up America’s favorite sport.

Head injuries and traumas have been plaguing the league since its existence. Recently the NFL has partnered with Heads Up Football, a program that teaches youth and high school players proper and safe football tackling techniques to try to lower any head or neck injuries in football. But like any other program or idea, it’s only as good as the people that use it. I think before each NFL season players should be required to take a test and review proper tackling techniques so they don’t risk injuring themselves or any other player on the field.

Hopefully in the near future the NFL will  continue it’s research to make the game safer for the new generation of athletes.