Former NFL referee Ed Hochuli officiated several hundred NFL games from 1990 to the late-2010s before retiring. In that span he saw a lot of terrible hits and injuries, some of which were so bad, he thought that players had died on the field.
In a recent appearance on the Always Aggravated podcast, Hochuli admitted that there would be multiple instances in each game where he thought a player had been hit so hard that they’d died. Hochuli also said that better efforts to protect players need to be made.
Here’s the transcript, via The Big Lead:
“The players have gotten bigger — I go back, I started in 1990. They’ve gotten bigger and faster and stronger. I worked over 600 games in the NFL, and there wasn’t a single game right up to the very last one that there weren’t a half a dozen times in that game (where) I said, ‘Oh my god, how’s that guy gonna get up off the ground? He’s gotta be dead.’ And they hop up and they go back to the huddle. It’s a collision sport, and we’ve got to protect them. We’ve got to protect them.”
Concussions and crippling injuries have become a greater focus in the public eye over the past few years.
The NFL has instituted a variety of rules in an effort to crack down on concussions and otherwise reduce the risk of the most catastrophic of injuries.
Unfortunately, the nature of the high-speed, contact sport will likely make it all but impossible to take all of the injury risk out of the game.
[ Yahoo ]