Dr. James Andrews: Football Now So Dangerous It Wouldn’t Be Allowed If Invented Today


If you follow sports at all, you’ve probably heard of Dr. James Andrews. The official team physician for Alabama, Auburn, and the Washington Redskins, Andrews is one of the top orthopedic surgeons in America and the guy all the top athletes go to when their careers are on the line. Over the years his patients have included Adrian Peterson, Roger Clemens, Charles Barkley, Jack Nicklaus, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, John Smoltz, Gary Sheffield, John Cena, Scottie Pippen, Matt Harvey, Robert Griffin III, Allen Iverson, Emmitt Smith, and Donovan McNabb, just to name a few.

As a fan, Andrews’s favorite sport is football. In fact, he’s a self-professed football junkie who played college ball at LSU.

That’s what makes his comments in a new Sports Illustrated feature so shocking.

“If we started a new sport today and we wrote up the rules and regulations and we called it football,” Andrews said, “they probably wouldn’t allow it. We’re all trying to do everything we can to make football safer, but that’s the way the sport is: There are always going to be injuries. We’re aware of that, and we’re all working to keep it that way. We want it to continue, believe me.”

It hasn’t always been this bad, Andrews says.

“I’d say that since 2000—with our athletes getting bigger and stronger, hitting harder, running faster—injuries have really escalated. There’s so much emphasis on being the best you can be now, and a lot of that is driven by the dollar.”

Andrews offers a few suggestions for making the game safer, such as teaching kids to play fair and limiting the amount of contact during practices. However, he does not think football is going anywhere.

“It’s part of the American culture,” Andrews explains. “We may have to revamp it to some degree, but I don’t think you’re going to see us playing flag football only. Nobody’s going to watch that. There’s always going to be room for collision sports. Its been that way since way back in the Roman days. It’s probably going to continue that way.”

Again, you can check out the full article over at Sports Illustrated. It’s a good read, and it’ll make you think.

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