Subj: Another one bites the dust
Has anyone ever been killed during a pro football game?
I’m afraid so, Charles. Detroit Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes made history in 1971 when he suffered a fatal heart attack during the final minutes of a game against the Chicago Bears. The Lions subsequently retired his number 85 and now give out an award in his honor to the team’s most improved player. Although in-game deaths are still an oddity in the NFL, they continue to be far too common at the amateur level. According to The National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury, more than 1,002 players have died as a direct result of football-related injuries since the organization began gathering data in 1931. In fact, football was once considered to be so dangerous a pursuit that President Theodore Roosevelt seriously considered banning the sport after 18 players were fatally injured in 1905 alone. Roosevelt’s scrutiny eventually led to widespread changes in the game including the banning of mass tackles and the creation of the neutral zone, thereby making the sport far safer for everyone involved.