Dr. James Andrews: If football were a new sport, it likely would be banned – CBSSports.com

After last season, the NFL released a report that showed an uptick in concussions, ACL sprains, and MCL sprains. It was important information, but it was hardly surprising given the nature of the NFL. Players are stronger and faster than ever before and they’re playing a game that involves smashing into each other on every single play.

Football is violent and no matter how many rules the NFL changes, it’ll remain a dangerous game. According to Dr. James Andrews, it’s so violent that if it were invented today, it would be outlawed.

“It’s a collision sport,” Andrews told Sports Illustrated. “If we started a new sport today and we wrote up the rules and regulations and we called it football, they probably wouldn’t allow it. We’re all trying to do everything we can to make football safer, but that’s the way the sport is: There are always going to be injuries. We’re aware of that, and we’re all working to keep it that way. We want it to continue, believe me.”

What Andrews, an orthopedic surgeon who operates on pretty much every athlete, said makes sense and it comes at a time when there is heightened awareness about the dangers of playing football. But with heightened awareness comes controversy.

NFL owners like Jerry Jones have tried to refute the link between football and brain trauma. In March, The New York Times reported that the NFL’s concussion research was flawed because it omitted at least 100 concussions. Meanwhile, some NFL players have raised concerns with how the league allows players to deal with pain and a conversation about the use of marijuana has gained momentum.

Those conversations likely aren’t going away. As Andrews said, the nature of football isn’t going to change, though the league should certainly continue to tweak the rules to make the game as safe as possible.

This past offseason, the NFL tweaked its kickoff rules in an attempt to reduce the number of returns. The league has also tried to protect defenseless players from unncesssary hits to the head.

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