Among the myriad problems that have plagued boxing (in addition to a confusing title-belt system and awful promotion), are the disastrous health effects that have afflicted the former stars of the sport.
It's not a ringing endorsement of the sweet science to see the best boxers showing signs of mental and physical damage, reducing them to a shell of their former selves.
First things first: Football is a dangerous game. Players don't have to play football. If they don't want the injury risk, they could play a different sport.
However, the risks of concussions have been presented, and they are impossible to ignore. It's not just the big hits. Even the smallest of hits can combine to create serious long-term damage.
This research presents very serious questions:
1) How long will fans accept watching the game of football, as they see their heroes destroyed physically and mentally?
2) How many future pros will move to different sports (author Malcolm Gladwell suggested lacrosse) as a result of this research?
3) How much will the league and its owners spend in either legal fees or settlements, as a result of upcoming lawsuits about player safety?
There are no easy answers in handling these questions. However, the league should be forthcoming with players and fans on how they are trying to make things safer.
Whether further sanctions on appropriate hits to mandating more advanced helmets for all players (something the league hasn't done yet), the league must be more proactive in dealing with these risks.