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March 18, 2015
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When Chris Borland, a 24 year-old rookie linebacker on the San Francisco 49ers, announced that he was retiring from the NFL to avoid the potential brain damage from longterm frequent concussive head trauma, it added yet more fuel to the fierce debate that playing professional football is fundamentally bad for your health. In the below FAQ, our experts examine if there is anything to be done about the problem.

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Chris Borland moments away from a probably head injury. Image via YouTube.

When Chris Borland, a 24 year-old rookie linebacker on the San Francisco 49ers, announced that he was retiring from the NFL to avoid the potential brain damage from longterm frequent concussive head trauma, it added yet more fuel to the fierce debate that playing professional football is fundamentally bad for your health. In the below FAQ,our experts examine if there is anything to be done about the problem.


Q: Would designing a better helmet solve the problem?
A: It could, but it is probably better just to keep paying millions of dollars to monster men to hit each other as hard as possible.

Q: Why can we drop a technologically sophisticated rover from space and have it land on Mars without breaking but not figure out a better helmet?
A: Because the rover doesn’t have a fragile human brain inside it.

Q: Can we make the world outside of football more dangerous to your brain than playing football thus making people stay in football to avoid the terrible, terrible, awful world?
A: Sure. I mean, ISIS is sort of already working on that.

Q: You know how if an elevator is falling and you’re trapped inside, if you time it right and jump right before impact you can survive? Couldn’t the players just, like, jump right before a tackle?
A: That isn’t true about elevators, and that would actually just add more force to the impact of the tackle.

Q: Pretty sure the elevator thing is true. Ooh, maybe all elevator passengers should be required to wear a helmet?
A: I think we’re getting off track.

Q: OK. Um, what if playing in the NFL was no longer voluntary and they instituted a military-style draft instead?
A: That would technically solve the problem of players retiring, but not the larger issue of the brain disease for the players who remain.

Q. Yeah! And then we could just make it illegal for NFL players to retire before we want them to!
A. Hold on, that is starting to sound like slavery. Also that wasn’t a question.

Q. Maybe the problem is just that Chris Borland has some sand in his pussy and that’s why he is whining like a little bitch? Maybe someone should have a doctor check his pussy for sand?
A. Wow, that statement was amazingly unproductive, sexist, and ignorant of the scientific data.

Q. Come on, I get concussions all the time and no one’s boo hooin’ for me.
A. Go to a doctor.

Q. Fine. But all I’m saying is, I get concussions all the time and no one’s boo hooin’ for me.
A. …Go to a doctor. Also, what’s your job that you’re getting concussions all the time?

Q: NFL helmet tester. But all I’m saying is, I get concussions all the time and no one's—
A: Go to a doctor.

Q: OK, I will! Jeeze, you sound like my nagging doctor wife. But before I do, just tell me straight up: Is it possible for an intelligent, compassionate person to justify being a fan of professional football given the data we now have about the adverse health effects players suffer?
A: No, it’s not possible. Being an NFL fan is basically tantamount to supporting a dog-fighting ring. But with humans. So, worse than dog fighting.

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