Theodore Roosevelt & Football
In the early 1900s, collegiate football lacked any regulations to protect player safety, and the players were prevented from wearing helmets. In 1904 alone, 18 players were killed and close to 300 were seriously injured. When his son joined the Harvard team, President Theodore Roosevelt, a strong proponent of football, realized something had to be done. In 1906, Roosevelt pushed school leaders to adopt a series of reforms that radically improved player safety. Roosevelt’s reforms shaped the sport of modern football and continue to protect players today. They are especially relevant in the light of modern studies that suggest football regulations may not go far enough to prevent brain damage.