The Most Shocking Hit in Football
Roopinder Tara posted on July 31, 2017 | 837 views

The recent study of ex-NFL players’ brains showed that 110 out of the 111 brains studied were damaged—the results of multiple concussions.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative disease found in people who have suffered repeated blows to the head. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia.)
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative disease found in people who have suffered repeated blows to the head. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Football is a violent sport played with big bodies hitting each other while moving as fast as they can.

But the worst-case collision would occur if two fast players ran full speed at each other—a case I was unable to find. It is a case that I find hard to believe has not already occurred. After all, it’s almost a job requirement. In order to get a job starting in the NFL, you may have to first prove yourself on special teams. The special-teams players on a kickoff return—also known as suicide squads—race toward each other at full speed. Fearlessness is praised. But should this result in helmet-to-helmet contact … as we are going to see, it will be game over.

We Who Are About to Die Salute You

Concussion researchers are saying that it takes about a 100 g’s to jar the head so that the brain pushes through the fluid it floats in and collides with the inside of the skull.

A hundred g’s might sound like a lot to the general public, which is raised on tales of fighter pilots who take 10 g’s and pass out, but impact, like the head hitting the ground (a frozen natural field is the worst case in football) or helmet-to-helmet contact, can be lethal.

Do the Math

How fast are these guys? The fastest football players can run a 40-yard dash in a little over 4 seconds, but 4.4 seconds is common among speedsters. Two bodies of equal mass hitting each other head on with no recoil would be the worst-case scenario—equivalent to one body moving at a combined speed and hitting a concrete barrier.

How much does the actual brain travel before it comes to a stop? I couldn’t find the gap, but let’s use half an inch to get in the right order of magnitude.

The g-forces generated (more than 1,000) when two football players run directly at each other traveling at full speed.

If this is right, a full-speed helmet-to-helmet collision between two players who ran directly at each other going as fast as they could would generate over a thousand g-forces!

Neither player could possibly survive the impact.

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