discerning fans know that it takes more skill to haul a man down in a messy
pileup than it does to blindside a player who isn't looking. Anyone can deliver
a "big hit," but it takes real football prowess to stay in your gap,
ward off blockers and take on a ballcarrier who has all the momentum.
Allen Salter, Evanston, Ill.
The big hit is what
keeps the fans coming back (Big Hits, July 30). If players are afraid of being
hit, they should trade in their shoulder pads and helmets for tennis
Brian Lattman, Scarsdale, N.Y.
Tim Layden writes
that "football without concussive hits is Ultimate Frisbee." That's why
I play Ultimate Frisbee.
Matt Weiss, Pittsburgh
The answer on how
to play football more safely can be found in the old black-and-white NFL films.
There you see no missilelike projectile hits. What has changed is the
"protective" equipment. Today's hard plastic helmets and shoulder pads
encourage blind dives and devastating collisions. Football players of old were
motivated by self-preservation to tackle with their shoulders and arms, keeping
their head out of harm's way.
Mark Millar, Seal Beach, Calif.
As a former rugby
player and coach, I see a simple solution for the NFL: Adopt the rugby rule
that requires the tackler to wrap his arms around the tacklee. Not wrapping
results in a penalty. As a result of this rule, rugby has fewer injuries than
football, despite its players wearing less padding. Check out your cover
photo—Sheldon Brown does not appear to be attempting to use his arms at all.
Brock Ellwood, Grand Rapids
Your story showed
how pro players suffer the big hit on Sunday afternoons. But at least they can
moan all the way to the bank on Monday morning. What about the young men who
take hits on Saturday afternoons but never make it to the pros? Colleges that
sponsor scholarship sports should contribute to a national health insurance
fund so that student-athletes who don't make a pro team can pay for medical
expenses later in life.
Thomas A. Mauro, DeWitt, Mich.
208,000 people each year are treated in emergency rooms for traumatic brain
injuries sustained during sports or recreational activities, and almost two
thirds of those people are between ages five and 18. The Centers for Disease
Control has developed tool kits to increase awareness of the problem and
improve prevention, recognition and management of these injuries. For more
information, go to www.cdc.gov/ncipc/tbi/TBI.htm.
Director, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC, Atlanta
Stiff Upper Lip
"Quiet Suffering," above the picture of Sergio Garc�a (LEADING OFF,
July 30) after he missed his British Open-winning putt on the 72nd hole, was
correct in describing that moment. But afterward Garc�a engaged in immature
whining. Instead of showing that he could be a gracious loser, he came off as a
crybaby by blaming bad luck, slow play and a higher power. Jack Nicklaus won 18
majors but was a runner-up in 19 others, and he was humble and gracious whether
he won or lost. Sergio should take a page from Jack's book and learn how to
accept losing with dignity.
Sterling C. Proffitt, Keswick, Va.