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Football Does a Body Good

"American football is dying," John Kass writes in the Chicago Tribune. "It's about time." He thinks parents will forbid their children from playing, thus starving the NFL of fans and participants. For parents who shuttle their kids to Pop Warner practices, he advises: "So why not make it simple and just give the kids packs of cigarettes instead?" (...) The number of football deaths at all levels has fallen dramatically over the last half century. Present hysteria aside, rule changes and advances in equipment have made it a safer game. During the second half of the 1960s, brain-injury deaths averaged more than 20 per year for football players. That figure is now less than five per year in a sport played by millions. (...) One rarely sees neighborhood kids in pickup football games anymore. They're too busy playing video games, text messaging, and friending strangers on Facebook. The unhealthy aversion to football (and other sports not named "soccer") has little to do with head injuries and much to do with an indoor society that's lost its head. Surely strenuous outdoor activity is a fine remedy for what ails climate-controlled, obese, antiseptic adolescence.

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