The History of Football and its Greatest Danger

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About this essay

Outline Pattern: Topical Specific Purpose: At the end of my speech, the audience will be able to discuss the background of football and the issues of concussions within the sport. Central Idea/Thesis: Football at all levels has changed dramatically from what it used to be.


Gain attention/motivate audience to listen: Share story of regular Saturday morning watching son’s football game. Start with imagine and paint a picture so that everyone in the class can see it.  Establish credibility: Tie the imagine scenario into the real story of Zackery Lystedt.

This is exactly what happened to promising athlete Zackery Lystedt in 2006 during a regular season football game, says source James Hamblin of the Atlantic Media Company. The thirteen-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital after collapsing at the end of a game (Hamblin). He immediately underwent emergency neurosurgery to relieve pressure inside of his skull (Hamblin).

Thesis and preview: State thesis for the first time and tie into the occurrence of this issue being the new information about head injuries and why the sport is headed down the wrong path.

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Transition to the body of the speech: Zackery had not lost consciousness the first time he fell in the game, but his brain suffered a significant trauma that would change his future along with the future of the sport.


The History of the NFL.

  1.  On November 6, 1869 the sport of football was created from the London Football Association’s Rules per “Football Origins” written by the People History (People History).

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    Michael Oriard from the UNC Press states how, “It was created as a game to be played, not watched” (Oriard).

  2.  Since then, the sport has grown dramatically with the creation of an actual National Football League consisting of thirty-two franchise teams now bringing in millions of viewers across America.

Transition to point B: As time as passed, the sports equipment has changed into what we recognize today.  Initially, there was no need for helmets because the game was less physical. But as the game evolved so did the protective equipment worn by the players.

  1.  In the early 1900’s players wore almost no padding. if any was worn it would be only a thin leather strap or mole-skin strap to cover the head in a small way. Head coverings evolved from leather straps, to plastic shell-like helmets, and eventually to strong molded polycarbonate helmets with face protectors.
  2. As helmets grew in size and substance, body pads bulked up as well. As athletes became bigger and the speed of the game grew faster, pads became thicker and the helmets more technologically advanced.

Transition to point C: . Unfortunately, the more they tried to protect the body with pads and helmets, the more these bodies became weapons on the field. If you observe the game of rugby today, you will see a direct correlation of what football was created from.

  1.  In football’s early history, defensive players were taught to leverage leg strength and torso action to bring the ballplayer to the ground. Without helmets (and even with the first-generation primitive headgear), tackling was focused on grabbing or wrestling an opponent to the ground, much like a rodeo cowboy wrestling a steer.
  2.  Over time, as the speed of the game increased, and the protective equipment made athletes bolder, tackling has changed to inflicting a direct hit on the opponent with their upper body. Players are taught to square their body up with the opponent and place a hit with their shoulder. With the shoulder only, inches away from the head, head on collisions are frequent. These two factors – equipment and playing style – work together. More aggressive play leads to more protective equipment. And more protective equipment leads to more confident athletes willing to take greater physical risks with their bodies, which includes the head and shoulders. The result over decades has been the emergence of concerning brain complications. Those are what we all know as concussions.
  3.  The very word “concussion” brings mixed emotions to football’s participants, viewers, and parents across America. Many see a concussion like a hangnail- where it’s a little bit painful but not enough to keep you out of play. Whereas some see it as early stages of brain trauma. But what really is a concussion and how does it affect the brain? XLNT brain sport describes how,

The brain floats unattached inside the skull that has ridges and shelf-like areas. The brain is a delicate organ, similar to the consistency of soft butter or slightly set gelatin. Any sudden movement with force can result in the brain sliding back and forth which can cause temporary and permanent cognitive damage (XLNT brain sport). Transition to conclusion (brakelight): Every hit to the head, whether considered a concussion or not, is dangerous because the brain is jolted around in the head with a chance of serious permanent damage.


Summary: As more stories and new findings come to the public’s attention about dangers and prevalence of concussions, parents, medical professionals, and even coaches are re-evaluating the future of the sport. The rules, the equipment, and the way the game is played is changing dramatically since the sport began. Closure: The issues of concussions and head trauma at all levels of football have become a huge issue and can be researched all over the internet and in person as most athletes have been concussed. Now the question is, will you let your kid play football?

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The History of Football and its Greatest Danger. (2022, Jan 03). Retrieved from

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