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Letters to the Editor: Better helmets won’t save football. The sport needs to become safer or die

The Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos play an NFL preseason game in Denver on Aug. 28.
The Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos at an Aug. 28 NFL preseason game in Denver.
(Jack Dempsey / Associated Press)

To the editor: I have great respect for sports agent Leigh Steinberg and his work to make football safer, but at the end of the day football as a tackle sport cannot be saved. (“5 steps to protect football players’ brains and keep the sport alive,” Opinion, Aug. 29)

Even if children were less exposed to the harm of concussions, the college and professional forms of the game still involve physical mayhem. Thus, most professional players come out of the sport with brain trauma.

The only chance for football to survive is for it to evolve into a running and passing sport, rather than a collision sport.

Erica Hahn, Monrovia

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To the editor: I played high school football during the era when a coach would laugh and say, “Got your bell rung, huh?” It was considered “safe” for us to put our heads on the other guys’ numbers, to use your helmeted head as a weapon.

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Steinberg suggests removing hitting from practices and saving those assaults for the games. Instead, why not just eliminate helmets altogether?

Players need to be protected from head injuries, no doubt about it. But creating a better, cushioned helmet will give players a false sense of security and thus encourage them to continue to use their heads as weapons.

Eliminate the football helmet — as in rugby — and force players to recognize their own vulnerability. They would opt to play the sport differently and make the game more skillful than it is now.

Dave Roelen, Torrance

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To the editor: Steinberg’s suggestions are a fig leaf for a sport that is too dangerous to play — so dangerous that it is devolving into a blood sport that relies on the exploitation of minorities and the poor.

Parents should stop their children from playing tackle football and schools and colleges should drop football, redirecting funds elsewhere.

Unfortunately, football is about money, and lots of it. UCLA’s football coach makes about $4 million per year. The NFL is a $15-billion industry that relies on a steady stream of college athletes to be decimated by injuries, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

It is to stop the carnage.

Robb Patton, Glendora


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