Football where the head is sacred

My name's Ian, and one of my favorite sorts of football has a brain injury problem.

It had these sort of problems before, and Teddy Roosevelt forced through changes to the game that stopped people dying on the field - changes that opened it up with the forward pass, and removed the rolling maul and the flying wedge.

Today, American football is correctly seen as a sport that you play at the risk of brain damage.

If American Football is going to survive, this needs to change.

Here are some suggestions.

First of all, lose the helmets. They do nothing but give a false sense of security, and allow the head to be used as a weapon.

Second, the head becomes sacred. Any head contact not only gets a personal foul penalty on the field, it also sees the offender referred to the tribunal for multi game bans.

Thats all head contact, by the way - including leading into a tackle or a block with your head.

Technique will need to change radically, as players stay much more upright, but the game will remain the same.

Thirdly, players are automatically and permanently substitued off from a concussion. If this concussion was from a foul, the opposing player is sent from the field as well. This may require suiting up more players.

Fourthly, concussed players are inspected, during and after the game, by a doctor employed by the league, not their team. If in the doctor's opinion the player is not fit to resume play, the player is on medical leave from his team, and that players salary does not count against his team's salary cap.

In thinking about this, I'd encourage you to watch a bit of another football, that also broke off from rugby at about the same time American Football did. Essentially, rugby league is gridiron without blocking or forward passes by hand, played without breaks and as one-platoon football, with possession always changing after five downs.

Look at this tape - not for exactly what they are doing, or why they are doing it, or the fact that players are smaller, slower and not as explosive, or the number of razzle-dazzle laterals that are thrown but that it's recognisably football.

See the differences in tackling and running style to American football.

But if you want football to survive, the head has to become sacred.

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