Can Football Be Made Safer?

TWO MASSIVE FOOTBALL PLAYERS COLLIDING AT FULL SPEED CAN GENERate in excess of 1,000 lbs. of force -- more than enough to snap a player's bones, rip ligaments and wreck joints. So it's not surprising that nearly 500 N.F.L. players have been injured seriously enough to miss a game so far this season. What's perhaps more surprising is that there aren't more accidents like Dennis Byrd's. In the previous 15 years, only two pro players have suffered permanent spinal-cord injuries. (Diving holds the dubious distinction of being the most backbreaking sport.)

Sports doctors and equipment engineers have struggled over the years...

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