Equipment and Injuries

I wonder if in football, the evolution of protective equipment such as the helmets the pads have contributed to an increase in injuries. I wonder if the numbers of injuries when the body protection was much less sophisticated than today and the helmets were leather less than today (one would feel much less invincible talking an opponent with such head gear).

Before modern equipment - back in the leather helmet days - some men actually died on the field. I know there were at least a few deaths in the US.

Well said CFF.
While I agree equipment is more like armor than padding now, I think that is more relevant in Hockey.
Look at football, and impact injuries mainly result concussions (but like CFF stated…some of those concussions would have been deaths in the past. Yeah…you get the odd break and what not…but most injuries are strains and such. I think that a lot of sports simply have athletes pushing themselves to a point that the human body simply was not made to be pushed…I think that is a big reason it seems like ACL, MCL, etc injuries seem to be so much more common now. Guys are putting so much force into moves it is just stunning. They are also going toe to toe with guys who are way bigger. Only a few decades ago a 300lb player on the OL was rare…most were closer to 250…300 is pretty much the norm now, and under 290 you are just too small.

the biggest thing modern padding has likely done is taken away a lot of good clean sound wrapup tackling and replaced it with harder hits. I wouldn’t say it is the pads causing the damage per say, but the mentality some have because of the protection when in it.

Thanks to both of you for excellent answers. I now wonder if there are as serious injuries in rugby since they do not wear any protective equipment. Having said that, I suspect that football without any protection whatsoever wouldn't be a good idea. Paddings and helmets were (I assume) a logical evolution from the intense contacts in the original game.

That’s a great question Pocho. The following link may be of interest to you:

Thanks beaglehound. The article is very interesting. At first, the link given didn't work regarding the film source. I google search the topic and found the following which is identical but it worked?

Another interesting question regards how football should evolved, drastically change or implement new rules since, amongst other facts, there are parents now who won't let their children play the game.

I think rule changes and a gradual change if it is really needed.. These guys are professionals but still need time to adjust. Even all the up and comers in high school and colleges now they need time to make the change.

And thats not even mentioning the fans adjusting to a "new" game. You know how people are they generally dislike to much change (not all I know)