Football league throws away helmets and pads in the name of safety

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Players in the American 7’s Football League (A7FL) play without helmets and without pads. The league co-founder says it all makes for “a safer game.”

Ryan DePaul started the league about 10 years ago after concussions ended his own football career, according to a report by PIX11. He said with a helmet and padding, he felt comfortable hitting his head because “it never hurt.”

So in the A7FL they took away the pads and made some changes to the rules to make the game safer. There are no kickoffs in their style of play and defenders tackle in a different way.

“This style of game: no pads, tackle, full contact, it makes everybody look twice,” DePaul said. “You can’t just throw a blind shoulder into a kneecap.”

Football helmets have evolved over the years from a leather headpiece to the face-covering plastic helmet we know today. It was done in an effort to make the game safer, but some players say there’s a benefit to going helmetless.

“You don’t have guys feeling like they’re invincible because they have a helmet on,” said Defensive End Andrew Levine, according to PIX11’s report.

The A7FL has dozens of teams across the country, many of those being in New Jersey.

“It’s starting to make sense to people now,” Depaul said. “Removing the helmet, fixing the way that we tackle, is starting to add up to a safer game.”