As summer turns to fall, Americans have begun the gradual turn to the gridiron, with college and pro football players prepared to entertain the masses for the next several months.
Founded in August 2022, Project SafetyHelp hopes to create a new era of football that keeps these players healthy long after their careers are over.
Project SafetyHelp is an initiative catalyzed within the football community to enact significant changes to the way football is played at an amateur and professional level. They aspire to create a more sustainable sport that poses fewer long-term health and mental health risks for football players of all ages and walks of life.
Given the state of research on concussions, subconcussive hits, and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), both governing bodies and organizations responsible for the health of athletes must consider these issues seriously. Project SafetyHelp has posed several revisions to improve professional football players’ health outcomes, both during and after their careers. Several of these recommendations are highlighted in the book Against Football by Steve Almond:
They propose that the National Football League (NFL) insert impact-monitoring devices into player helmets to track the total g-force experienced by players per play and across entire games. Additionally, we propose that the NFL enforce per-game limits on the amount of g-force a player can withstand before being removed from play.
They propose that the NFL gradually implement player weight limits to decrease the impact of individual collisions.
They propose that the NFL eliminate non-scoring special teams sequences from the game (kick-off returns and punt returns). Kick return situations would be replaced by starting each drive after an opponent’s score from the 25-yard line, and punt returns would remain as current except that the returner cannot advance the ball, either downing the ball upon catching it, letting it roll out of bounds, or letting the kicking team down the ball.
They propose that the NFL impose stricter limits on the duration and frequency of padded practices in preseason and during the season, league-wide.
Project SafetyHelp hopes to see an era of modern football that both preserves the core pillars of the sport and upholds a standard of care for the very athletes who devote years to making it successful. These proposals will take noticeable and meaningful steps towards creating a safer game for all involved while retaining the spirit and enrichment that football brings to fans, coaches, and players, alike.
Please support Project SafetyHelp’s mission for safer football by signing their petition here, where you can also find out more about the facts and basis behind these revisions.
Follow them on Instagram and Twitter at @ProjSafetyHelp.
Featured Image: Change.org