In a More Cautious NFL, BOOM goes to Boom

Not quite gone are the days when football broadcasts and highlight packages dwell on big hits and gruesome injuries, but the emphasis on them is being toned down as the longterm effects of serious injuries to football players take up more and more of the discourse about the modern NFL. ↵

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↵⇥“I would say in our place, since this story has taken on a greater and greater prominence, we’ve taken action to take out the sound effects on promos and highlights of punishing hits,” said Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports. ↵
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↵In a sense, such a move takes some of the focus off the enjoyment derived from collisions, though one could also argue that it's a way of soft-peddling the notion that football in a punishing game where injuries happen all the time because of savage hits. ↵

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↵Though some of these changes are in fact being made, this being the media, there's also plenty of disingenuous posturing going around. ↵

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↵⇥“This season has really opened my eyes — everything that’s happening, whether it’s Congress or what’s being reported in the newspapers,” said Cris Collinsworth, the NBC analyst, who has devoted several minutes each game to somber discussion of brain injuries. “The correlation of playing with a concussion and being tough is a culture we have to change within the game and in our society.” ↵
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↵Oh really, former NFL player Cris Collinsworth? It just now dawned on you that head injuries could have a inimical effect on the lives of former athletes? None of your ex-teammates could have tipped you off to that? There may be more and more studies revealing the exact effects on the human brain, but concussion-related problems haven't been an issue completely in the dark until just now. ↵

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↵Tamping down some of the rhetoric about players being "warriors" and such is nice, but let's not kid ourselves that there's any real progress until those suffering concussions are actually being taken care of after they finish playing. Talking in more reverent tones about their injuries means relatively little compared to that. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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