2) Make mandatory the representation of physicians and game officials on rules committees.
3) Establish a central registry for injuries, with input on their causes and computer readouts available for high school, college and pro teams. (The NFL can fund this project as a token of its appreciation for having the colleges and high schools as its farm system.)
4) Establish a crew of rules committee members to conduct clinics in which coaches and players would receive instruction on the rules and be warned against injury-causing tactics.
5) Pad the outside surfaces of helmets and shoulder pads; make mouthpieces mandatory; study the value of the face guard, and if it is truly a cause of spinal injury, prohibit its use.
6) Make some form of lightweight knee brace mandatory equipment (e.g., the eight-ounce plastic model used at Oklahoma State).
7) Outlaw strong chemical stimulants and institute urine or saliva tests as is necessary to ensure that players obey the rules against the use of drugs.
8) Monitor practices to make sure the techniques being taught are legal.
None of these recommendations would affect the esthetic qualities of the game. None would lessen its appeal. They would make life more difficult for coaches, and more costly for administrators, but if they saved half a dozen players from lives—spent in wheelchairs, they would be worth it.
Unless there are sweeping changes in the game, a storm of litigation is coming. The thunder is already being heard. Lawyers hang on every broken bone and torn tendon, watching for an opening. The rules and the environment in which the game is played can no longer be left to the whims of coaches and players, because they are at once the cause and the victims of the problem.
"There are a lot of enemies of football now," says Dr. Donald Cooper. "They're frothing at the mouth because of all the litigation and all the problems. They think it's so good because they're finally going to get the game. We've got a professor in the philosophy department who hates the game, hates the coaches, hates the players—and he's with those who see this as a golden opportunity: don't improve football, eliminate it.