Science of Football – Weapons of Choice

Science of Football Weapons of Choice

Ramirez: So in the early days of football, people weren’t wearing helmets at all. And later on, there came hats that looked more like aviator helmets. They called them the leatherheads. But, at that time, football was actually very dangerous. People were actually dying from the game, and they died from skull fractures. So, something had to be done.

Football has evolved over the years, and so have the rules and the means for attempting to avoid injuries. But sometimes a solution can lead to new problems. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Engineer Ainissa Ramirez is the co-author of “Newton’s Football the Science Behind America’s Game.”

Ramirez: Teddy Roosevelt was the President at the time. And so, what he instituted was some rule changes, and, eventually there were more robust helmets that evolved. But helmets were designed to prevent skull fractures. It wasn’t until about the 1950s that Otto Graham, who was a fantastic quarterback – he had a huge gash to his face, and his coach, Paul Brown, wanted to protect him. And so, Paul Brown rigged this face mask to go across his face. And then that started to become a standard issue for helmets.
Now, what people didn’t remember was that the helmet was for skull fractures, but people started using their heads when they were tackling because they felt really protected because now they didn’t have to worry about a broken nose or a broken jaw. And so, that is the impetus for this concussion epidemic that we have today.
The institution of the face mask made players feel more safe, and they started using their head, literally, to hit someone with their heads in a tackle, and that gave rise to the concussion epidemic.
Before the face mask, the style of play was more with shoulder play. The helmet was on the head to just kind of protect it in case it got hit, but once the face mask was instituted, the head actually became the weapon of choice.

We’ll hear about concussions and football in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.

Science of Football - Weapons of Choice

In professional football, the advent of helmets and face masks leg to unexpected problems.
Air Date:02/05/2014
Scientist:
Transcript:

Science of Football Weapons of Choice

Ramirez: So in the early days of football, people weren't wearing helmets at all. And later on, there came hats that looked more like aviator helmets. They called them the leatherheads. But, at that time, football was actually very dangerous. People were actually dying from the game, and they died from skull fractures. So, something had to be done.

Football has evolved over the years, and so have the rules and the means for attempting to avoid injuries. But sometimes a solution can lead to new problems. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Engineer Ainissa Ramirez is the co-author of "Newton's Football the Science Behind America's Game."

Ramirez: Teddy Roosevelt was the President at the time. And so, what he instituted was some rule changes, and, eventually there were more robust helmets that evolved. But helmets were designed to prevent skull fractures. It wasn't until about the 1950s that Otto Graham, who was a fantastic quarterback - he had a huge gash to his face, and his coach, Paul Brown, wanted to protect him. And so, Paul Brown rigged this face mask to go across his face. And then that started to become a standard issue for helmets.
Now, what people didn't remember was that the helmet was for skull fractures, but people started using their heads when they were tackling because they felt really protected because now they didn't have to worry about a broken nose or a broken jaw. And so, that is the impetus for this concussion epidemic that we have today.
The institution of the face mask made players feel more safe, and they started using their head, literally, to hit someone with their heads in a tackle, and that gave rise to the concussion epidemic.
Before the face mask, the style of play was more with shoulder play. The helmet was on the head to just kind of protect it in case it got hit, but once the face mask was instituted, the head actually became the weapon of choice.

We'll hear about concussions and football in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.