Without Helmets or Shoulder Pads
The American Way of Death in Football Conditioning
by Irvin Muchnick
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Pub Date 03 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 01 Oct 2023
Football’s concussion crisis is well known, with our Hall of Fame heroes behaving erratically and dying young. But did you know that kid players across the continent die every year before a single ball is snapped — just from extreme conditioning drills directed by all-powerful coaches? And then, when the unimaginable happens, the football world simply buries the evidence, pays off victims’ families, and moves on …
Without Helmets or Shoulder Pads presents the shocking stories of young men struck down by exertional heatstroke and other, often unacknowledged, causes. Taking the conversation about football and public health to a new level with investigations of the sport’s underreported worst tragedies and cover-ups it makes the case that no matter how much we enjoy America’s most popular sport at elite levels it belongs out of our public schools and off our public fields.
“Football’s massive popularity is undeniable, as are the many reasons players and fans are drawn to the game. But what is also undeniable is the game’s brutality and the troubling aspects of football culture at all levels. To whatever extent the reader shares Irv Muchnick’s perspective and conclusions, the evidence and arguments he presents deserve thoughtful attention.” — Bob Costas, Emmy Award-winning sportscaster
“Muchnick’s jeremiad digs deeper than ever into the greed and hypocrisy of high school and college football, and the trail of broken bodies left in their wake. His information on the perils of conditioning is essential reading and might save your kid’s life.” — Robert Lipsyte, author of The Contender and SportsWorld