Football Must Continuously Evolve to Keep Players Safe
Players and the NFL are starting to make football safer, but a lot more must be done
February 1, 2013
Yes, football has to change. Not only does the NFL need to change the rules to make the game safer, but more precautions need to be taken to keep players safe and healthy. I spent five seasons with the Buffalo Bills from '93-98 followed up by '98 and '99 with the Atlanta Falcons. The game has evolved since then—equipment has gotten safer, more light is now shed on the health of the players involved, and studies are commissioned by world renowned medical centers to take note of the effects of football on professional players. But improvements can't stop there. Football needs to continuously be evolving in order to keep our players safe.
During my time in the NFL, the mantra was to always be bigger, faster, stronger. As an offensive tackle, this meant grueling training sessions and eating 14,000 calories a day to maintain my weight above 300 pounds. After retiring and joining the corporate world, I no longer exercised like I did in the NFL but my caloric intake remained the same. It was ravaging my body. After an NFL colleague decided to go in for bariatric surgery, I committed to a life change. I did not have surgery but I did become a vegan for 17 months and lost almost 100 pounds. I became more in tune with taking care of myself in order to prevent further injuries.
NFL players, the NFL, and the NFL Players' Association are starting to come together to find a common ground in order to make the game safer for those directly involved on the field. But there is a lot more work to be done. Educating not only NFL players but the entire nation is key to starting to make a positive change.