Facemasks? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Facemasks!
There is no doubt that people are worried about head and neck injuries in both college football and the NFL after the paralysis of Rutgers player Eric Legrand and concussions suffered by Desean Jackson and Joshua Cribbs among others this past weekend. Joe Paterno offered a suggestion during this week’s Big Ten teleconference on how to increase safety:
“I’ve been saying for years, we should get rid of the face mask. It’s a weapon, guys are fearless.”
There is no doubt that with the face mask, something Paterno did not have during his playing days at Brown, offers more protection to all players, but that protection also leads to defenders thinking that they can launch themselves at ball carriers without fear of the repercussion of injury to either themselves or the offensive player, which has been proven not to be the case.
It is a interesting stance by JoePa, for sure, but it may be a correct one as researchers have said more protection has led to more bone-jarring hits and more head and neck injuries. Although there is very little chance of the face mask being removed from football, something may have to be done about the head protection football players have at their disposal and the injuries they are undoubtedly causing.