St. Charles Herald-Guide

Football needs to be safer

By Allen Lottinger - September 14, 2012

Sadness came to the Tulane University football field Saturday when a Green Wave player who formerly played for Destrehan High broke his neck in a game at Tulsa University. Devon Walker collided with a teammate, defensive end Julius Warmsley, while trying to make a tackle on the final play of the first half.

Walker underwent surgery for three hours Sunday in Tulsa and was expected to remain in ICU for several days. Outcome of the injury was still undecided earlier this week, but he was reported alert and responsive after surgery.

Besides Walkerís injury, Tulaneís first string quarterback,Ryan Griffin, was taken from the game earlier in the second quarter with an injury to his right shoulder. Two other players, Tulane safeties Shakiel Smith and Sam Scofield, left the game in the fourth quarter with injuries that did not appear to be serious.

So whatís going on in football these days other than players being removed from games because of injuries? It seems that is the big thing around here.

The New Orleans Saints just finished a frustrating off-season with charges that some of the teamís players formed a bounty program in which they would intentionally injure opposing players so they would be removed from the game and the Saints would win. We find that is hard to believe, knowing that most of the Saints are pretty good guys.

At any rate, we must take to heart the fact that football is a rough sport and injuries are bound to occur. The answer to that is to regulate the sport to the point where safety is not a big issue.

If that is not possible in the future, football may become a less popular sport for spectators who donít want the players carried off the field and team members who donít want to be the ones carried off.

There are other sports with a much better safety record, such as baseball, basketball, tennis and soccer that can replace footballís popularity. But hopefully it wonít come to that.

The excitement of football cannot be replaced on any other playing field. We need to keep it where it is and make it safer and more acceptable to the players and fans.