Final WoRd Of Facemasks and Phone-Texting

Final WoRd Of Facemasks and Phone-Texting

1 Pages · 2010 · 100 KB · English

Ditka, who channeled his inner Armen Alchian and suggested that football should get rid of the helmet facemask. Say what? Ditka and Alchian want to change

Final WoRd Of Facemasks and Phone-Texting free download

60 | Regulation | Winter 2010–2011 Final WoRd Tim Rowland is a columnist and humorist for the (Hagerstown, MD) HeraldMail newspaper Of Facemasks and PhoneTexting By tim Ro Wland I n 1893, an Annapolis shoemaker received a curious request: fashion a piece of tough, protective leather for — the head This was just prior to the annual ArmyNavy football game, when Admiral Joseph Reeves had received the discourag ing diagnosis that one more kick to his melon could result in “instant insanity” or even death By the end of the century, “head harnesses” were becoming more common, but wearing headgear was still optional in the pros as late as 1943 I looked up the history of the football helmet one weekend this past October after I watched in giddy delight as several National Football League defenders used their helmets to deliver knockout shots to their opponents Today, the helmet is both protective and destructive It’s like the yellow light on a traffic signal: all drivers take it as a warning — half to slow down and half to speed up On any given Sunday, maybe a half dozen men of speed and power unimagi nable a generation ago will launch them selves headfirst into an opposing player The result is often a concussion for the offensive player, a 15yard penalty for the defensive player and, until recently, plenty of hearty chortling about getting “jacked up” As the debilitating effects of multiple concussions are becoming better under stood by science, the nfl has tried to discourage helmettohelmet contact But fining multimillionaire athletes a few thou sand dollars for a highlightfilm hit has not proved to be much of a deterrent So the league has announced it will suspend players for the vicious hits that leave vulnerable players (and nfl fans) drooling Sports programs assem bled panels of fretting experts who flailed for answers in a sea of cataclysmic injuries Are fines enough? Are suspensions enough? Should we change the rules? Do we need better equipment? Perhaps a better idea comes from former Chicago Bears tough guy Mike Ditka, who channeled his inner Armen Alchian and suggested that football should get rid of the helmet facemask Say what? Make the equipment less safe? Sure, Ditka argued Just as Alchian the orized that replacing car airbags with spear points would make motorists drive more cautiously, so removing facemasks would prompt “pretty boy” players to think twice before they blow up an opponent Ditka and Alchian want to change people’s incentives so they’ll act in a more safetyconscious way Contrast that to the usual way we try to improve safety — through legislating and regulating behav ior Motivated by the best of intentions, such policies can leave us worse off than had we left well enough alone A few days before “jacked up” week end, the insurance industry’s Highway Loss Data Institute released an analysis of the effect of state laws prohibiting phone texting while driving Now, if you’re old enough to remem ber stagflation, you likely couldn’t send a text while seated in your easy chair at home, with both feet firmly on the ground and elbow pads on for safety However, if you don’t really remember the Clinton administration, you probably think you can fire off a couple dozen texts to your bff while maneuvering a twoton vehicle through heavy traffic We oldsters naturally responded to this hazard by passing laws against texting while driving How were we to know that texting related crashes would go up as a result? The laws, it seems, haven’t eliminated texting while driving; they’ve simply changed the way that drivers text — in new and dangerous ways

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