In the last ten years there has been a drastic change in professional athletics. Players are coming out of college much bigger, faster, and stronger than players of the past. When players reach the High School level of sports it is forced upon them that their sport is twelve months long, and it is basically a job. Players are expected to run and condition, as well as lift weights every day in the off-season. Players training so hard and so much they come out of college fully matured and developed. Jevone Kearse of the Tennessee Titans was given the nickname, “The Freak, due to his massive size, amazing speed, and phenomenal strength his rookie year in the NFL. Players are much bigger than they were twenty years ago.
In 1979 the NFL's heaviest offensive lineman, Max Montoya of the Bengals, weighed 285 pounds. At the NFL scouting combine in February, 48 of 53 offensive linemen weighed more than 300 pounds (Oehser 2). The receivers are still fast, and the fastest guys these days are generally as fast as they were then. The difference is in who is running these speeds. As an example former Cowboys wide receiver and Olympic gold-medal sprinter Bob Hayes, ran a 4.4 forty yard dash, and he weighed 185 pounds. Jevon Kearse is 30 pounds heavier and he runs only 3/10 of a second slower in his forty yard dash (Oehser 2).
Athletes are driven by a fierce competitiveness to achieve at the highest levels. Athletes in professional sports getting bigger, faster, and stronger, has led to drastic changes in the entire world of sports. More frequent and severe injuries are occurring, which is leading to changes in rules, and proposed changes for current rules. Equipment has also changed along with demands according to the physique of the players. Some have proposed changes in size and dimensions of the playing field in both the NHL and NBA.
As players continue to get bigger, stronger and faster, the collisions between them cause more and more serious injuries. In the first four weeks of play in the NFL in 2001 there were 22 serious injuries, with five cases resulting in broken bones, eleven players tearing ligaments in their knees, and six severe sprains (King 106). With bone shattering collisions due to increased player speed and size, leagues have been forced to change rules and policies on hitting and contact between players. For example the NHL has changed its rules on cross checking and leading with elbows when delivering a check. “Players are getting so big these days, and the force that they hit you with is amazing,” said veteran Detroit Redwings defenseman Brendan Shannahan (Check It Out 90). Head injuries are a major concern in all sports. Many players receive concussions throughout their career; some are forced to retire due to multiple concussions. The NHL is looking into ways to prevent head injuries and concussions for players in the future. Suggested rule changes such as no checking have even been talked about. Equipment changes as well as making the plexiglas boards out of new softer material have also been discussed. Athletes have evolved into some what freakish beings of size strength and speed, this has forced changes in rules in sports were there is contact between players in order to protect their bodies from harm.
Equipment is also another big issue when it comes to a players well being. Athletes think that because the wear a protective layer of plastic they are invincible. Thanks to recent technological innovations in sports equipment, protective gear is helping to keep players free of injuries, but the force of impact between bigger and faster players still leads to frequent injuries. In the past year Riddell, a long time manufacturer of football helmets has come up with a new design that protects the head as well as the face and jaw from helmet to helmet hits that are not prohibited in the NFL. The Revolution helmet uses Kra-Lite II Polycarbonate Lexan as the material for the shell; it