After reading this article about the cumulative effects on the brain from playing football, I am really glad I lost a kidney when I was 8. This kept me from playing football and probably kept me from doing serious injury to my brain.
The stories in the article are heartbreaking and seem to indicate that this trauma is an inherent part of the game, something that can not just be reduced by changing the rules or the equipment. It was fascinating to read about the helmets used at UNC which record data about every hit. Often players were not concussed due to a hard hit as due to the cumulative effects of many smaller ones.
Reading about the abnormal brains found in former football players was really hard. These people put their lives at risk in order to provide entertainment for the rest of us. Only boxing seems to destroy more brains than football.
I wonder how the brains of rugby or hockey players look? Is it something just about football or do all violent, physical games result in this sort of damage?
Image (added in 2015): David Black