There is plenty of evidence showing that the NFL is not interested in addressing football’s head-injury problem to any meaningful extent. The audible volume of the NFL’s actions is beginning to drown out that of its words. The league has to keep uttering those words, though, for both P.R. and legal reasons. Not surprisingly, the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, are seizing upon the concept of a safer helmet as the panacea for this pesky cranial conundrum. The notion that a stronger helmet will reduce concussions is both intuitively obvious and a complete non-starter. Why? As biomedical engineering expert Richard M. Greenwald explained, “It’s the egg-yolk-inside-the-shell analogy. Making the shell stronger will still scramble the yolk.” A safer helmet, into which the NFL is investing millions of dollars, “will do nothing to protect the brain from rotational acceleration, the unstoppable force of physics inherent in every football tackle. In fact, the helmet will do as much to protect against rotational forces as leatherhead helmets, according to research by the Cleveland Clinic.” Those not surprised by the findings of that research, which was released in 2011, included the NFL and helmet manufacturer Riddell. Those two entities had known since at least 2000 that “no football helmet, no matter how revolutionary, could prevent concussions.” Obviously, both entities have ignored those findings. None of this is to tell you that you should not watch football this season; for now, anyway, you can look elsewhere for moral hand-wringing of that variety. Instead, simply remember that football is a violent activity, and don’t let Roger Goodell tell you otherwise.
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It appears the NFL has settled the concussion lawsuit with the players. Here’s what we know, told by instant twitter reaction:
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