SCIENCE
12/16/2013 12:24 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Football Concussions Crisis Sparks Debate Over Helmet Ban

football helmet

Football has taken a lot of hits lately as mounting research shows that the concussions some players suffer boosts their risk for dementia and other brain maladies. Former pro players sued the NFL, claiming the league had failed them. Worried parents began wondering if they should let their children play football. And some fans began to question the morality of watching football games, given the risk players face.

Football isn’t about to go away, of course. But some experts say football helmets should. They say helmets offer little protection and argue for a helmet-free version of the game. Other experts say helmets save lives, plain and simple.

What do you think? Should football helmets stay in the game—or be tossed out? Before tackling that question yourself, read what two leading experts have to say.

On one side of our exclusive debate is Dr. Ainissa Ramirez, a former professor of engineering at Yale University and the author of Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game. Her opponent in our online debate is Dr. Robert Cantu, clinical professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Boston University Medical School, co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University Medical Center, and senior advisor to the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee.

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