Researchers at the University of New Hampshire found that helmetless-tackling drills reduced the number of overall head impacts suffered by the participating players by 28 percent, thus fueling the debate that removing helmets from football is actually safer. A truly ironic argument. Hines Ward advocated for this rule change back in 2012, when he said “If you want to prevent concussions, take the helmet off.”
One football league is capitalizing on the fear of CTE and its popularity in America is growing. The A7FL is a seven-on-seven full contact football league played with no helmets and no pads.
“We see the A7FL as the future of football,” A7FL co-founder Sean Korkusuz told Complex. “We’re pushing it as hard as we can for safety, morality, and promoting football internationally. There’s an ongoing CTE epidemic. We feel our format is the sport that will pick up internationally—seven-on-seven is an international format, easier to play, no equipment cost.”
The talent in A7FL, which is played in eight states, ranges semi-dramatically. Some players resemble Uncle Rico trying to grasp at their glory days while others are former college players who were within arms length of making an NFL roster.
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Although its unlikely A7FL will ever be a competitor to the NFL, the drastic decline in Pop Warner participation is certainly an indicator that traditional football could be in the midst of a crisis in a decade or so.
But for now, lets watch some people get fucked up. Safely. Or something.
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