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UNC's Fedora: game of football is 'under attack'

UNC's Fedora: game of football is 'under attack' 2:25 PM ET David M. HaleESPN Staff Writer Close ACC reporter. Joined ESPN in 20...

UNC's Fedora: game of football is 'under attack'

2:25 PM ET
  • David M. HaleESPN Staff Writer Close
    • ACC reporter.
    • Joined ESPN in 2012.
    • Graduate of the University of Delaware.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- North Carolina coach Larry Fedora is no fan of the rule changes in college football, suggesting altering the game is an overreaction to injuries and will, in the end, have a profound effect on the entire country.

Fedora was asked about changes to the kickoff rule in college football, and he offered an extended oratory disputing the relationship between football and CTE and suggesting that softening the game could be part of a larger concern.

"Our game is under attack," Fedora told reporters. "I fear the game will be pushed so far from what we know that we won't recognize it in 10 years. And if it does, our country will go down, too."

Fedora said he'd talked to military personnel who'd suggested the success of the U.S. military was due, in part, to the number of football players who went on to join the armed forces.

Fedora also questioned the evidence tying CTE and football, saying that the game "is safer than it's ever been."

"Are there still injuries? Yeah. It's a violent sport," Fedora said. "You've got big, fast, strong guys running into each other. Something is going to give. But there are risks involved in the game, and everybody that plays the game understands those risks. It's not like they're going into it not knowing that something could happen. And so they have to -- personally have to weigh those risks versus the rewards."

Numerous organizations, including the NFL, have acknowledged a connection between concussions suffered by playing football and the development of CTE, which can result in brain abnormalities and depression. Recently, the family of former Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski said his suicide was likely the result of CTE.

"When I started playing the game, it was all about the head," Fedora said "You were going to stick your head into everything. And as we've learned and we understand the dangers of what's going on in the game of football, you slowly have taken the head out of the game. And so all the drills that you teach, all the tackling, all the things you do, you do it with the head out of the game, to keep the head away from the impacts.

"Also, back when I played, you were three practices a day during fall camp. I mean, so all of those changes -- you had one cup of water at practice. We've learned and evolved so much about hydration and you don't need to take salt tablets and all those different things that you did in the past."

Injuries were at the forefront of Fedora's time at ACC Kickoff. Last year, his Tar Heels suffered through one of the most prolific runs of injured players in recent memory, with 37 different players missing game time due to injury and more than 20 suffering season-ending injuries.

Fedora said he spent the offseason reshaping UNC's strength and conditioning program as a result, noting that it was imperative for him to show his players that the coaching staff was taking their health seriously.

"It's the same way that, if we can't run the football, Coach better be addressing what we're going to do to change," Fedora said. "If not, I've got my head stuck in the sand, and they're going to start wondering about me. I better have the answer. So that's part of it, and that's reacting to what had happened and making sure guys know that I'm going to meet their needs."

Source: Google News US Sports | Netizen 24 United States

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