During one of his many stops, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke to the people of Lakeland, Florida, where he commented on the “softer NFL rules” regarding concussions in the league.
According to ESPN, Trump made the comments in response to a woman that fainted and then quickly returned to the audience.
“The woman was out cold, and now she’s coming back,” Trump told the crowd, according to ESPN. “See? We don’t go by these new and very much softer NFL rules. Concussion, oh! Oh! Got a little ding on the head, no, no, you can’t play for the rest of the season.”
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer both sat out during week five due to concussions received earlier the previous week. These are only two of 35 concussions during the 2016 season.
The issue of concussions in football, from high school to professional, is not a new concept. It only seems like the problem has recently stepped into the limelight.
Athletes repeatedly taking hard hits to the head often face dire consequences. Many of them see symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease of the brain that doctors often diagnose athletes with.
I have heard complaints from my peers that the NFL and the referees are interrupting play too often to deliver penalties, especially after rough plays. The complaints are usually along the lines of “football is a contact sport,” and “let them play.”
These penalties are given in an attempt to prevent the athletes from developing serious, debilitating injuries. The penalties are a necessity to the safety of the players.
While some critics deem these rules as soft and unnecessary, I find them refreshing and encouraging.
It is important to try to teach athletes the appropriate way to play safe football. I think giving them a strict penalty, like a loss of yards during a crucial moment of a big game, is a way to get it through their heads.
In addition to trying to improve the safety at the professional level, coaches should be teaching athletes in peewee football leagues the importance of being safe. Stressing the importance of making correct tackles and aiming high at the bottom will help make the game safer in the long run.
I believe it is entirely possible to keep the integrity of the game intact, while still making the game as safe as possible.
Mihaela Karst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mihaela_jo