Football helmets have been mandatory in the NFL since 1939, when the dingy, leather helmets of old were considered safe enough to protect players who were being tackled and running into the oddly-placed field goal posts. As the sport graduated to bigger helmets and pads, what used to look like rugby developed into highly-trained athletes slamming into each other while wearing body armor. These hits have led to a deadly-serious amount of brain injuries which we are only beginning to understand today. The A7FL is trying to change football into a much safer game by removing the pads and the helmets, but you wouldn’t know it from some of these highlights.
Speaking to Complex, A7FL co-founder Sean Korkusuz considers this brand of football to be more safe, even if the safety doesn’t pass the eyeball test.
“We see the A7FL as the future of football. We’re pushing it as hard as we can for safety, morality, and promoting football internationally. There’s an ongoing CTE epidemic. We feel our format is the sport that will pick up internationally—seven-on-seven is an international format, easier to play, no equipment cost.”
Not so sure if some of these hits won’t contribute to the CTE epidemic that the NFL is currently navigating. Take a look at this.
Yes, that’s a human head bouncing off the turf. I’m no alternative football league owner or neuroscientist, but that looks like it could cause a concussion, and the A7FL doesn’t offer its players insurance (they have to sign waivers to play).
Beyond the many insane hits, however, remains the heart of football as we know it. We’ll see if this is a healthier, viable solution to the NFL’s CTE issues in due time.