Your letters to "LifeTimes"
Reader letter: Football and head injuries – 1940s and now
Re: Your fall 2013 article on Kevin Turner and Mike Ditka's NFL foundations and concussions, I do believe one problem – not the only one – is in the field of coaching and that it looms quite large. When I played two years in college back in the 1940s, I was taught the fundamentals of blocking and tackling – keep my head up, my eyes open, and my feet firmly planted on the ground. In the game today, it is permissible to use your hands on offense. We couldn't do that back then.
On the defensive side where so many concussions occur, the defensive man now strikes by spearing the opposition or throwing his body at him. I have seen "tacklers" of this kind miss the ball carrier entirely or bounce off. It reminds me of a pinball machine where the ball bounces off the bumpers. As Ditka and I were coached, we were "taught to tackle with our arms and shoulders." Turner says, "Full contact football before 14 can quite possibly do more harm than good." I agree, mainly because of (virtually) no proper coaching at that age. Maybe touch-tackle or flag football should be the game for youth.
-Bob North, Kankakee, Ill.