Here’s a thing about football.

And another reason why I don’t care that it’s Superbowl Sunday (besides the fact that my nose is functioning more as a geyser today than as a breathing-related organ):

Teddy-Roosevelt-Was-the-Toughest-Person-EverOver 100 years ago, President Teddy Roosevelt came THIS close (imagine me putting my finger and my thumb really close together) to banning football altogether. Players were literally dying regularly on the field because the game was so dangerous. I know this interesting fact because when our oldest was in fourth grade she wrote and presented a research paper on the history of football, earning the wide-eyed awe of her male classmates.

In case TR’s near-ban on the sport does not impress you, allow me to tell you a bit about the man. He was a Rough Rider (leading the charge up San Juan Hill with people shooting at him right and left, remember?), a cowboy, an adventurer, an explorer of the Amazon – that last one nearly killed him. And he was basically the inventor of parkour. This was a man who regularly, even when dressed in business clothes, walked for miles with the goal of NEVER going around any obstacle that presented itself in its path. He climbed, jumped, swam, and crawled through whatever got in his way on his walks. Funnily, he forced whoever was accompanying him on a given day to do the same – whether that be family members or fellow public servants. No joke.

And this same man felt football was too dangerous.

In the end TR settled for major changes to sport rules and improved protective equipment, which at the time was along the lines of putting on a leather hat instead of getting tackled bare-headed.

Today National Public Radio posted yet another article about the serious dangers of head injuries in football.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

 

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