That helmet and armor are there because football players used to get killed. Heck, given what we know now about brain damage I wouldn't let any son of mine play the game at any level.
Originally Posted by ManxTom
A Scottish author wrote in 1908 that
The British newspaper reader is apt to obtain his idea of the importance and standing of American universities chiefly from the accounts of their athletic prowess, which was measured roughly, a few years ago, by the number of students who were killed or maimed in the course of a season's football.From its earliest days as a mob game, football was a violent sport. The 1894 Harvard–Yale game, known as the "Hampden Park Blood Bath", resulted in crippling injuries for four players; the contest was suspended until 1897. The annual Army–Navy game was suspended from 1894 to 1898 for similar reasons. One of the major problems was the popularity of mass-formations like the flying wedge, in which a large number of offensive players charged as a unit against a similarly arranged defense. The resultant collisions often led to serious injuries and sometimes even death. Georgia fullback Richard Von Albade Gammon notably died on the field from concussions received against Virginia in 1897, causing Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Mercer to temporarily stop its football programs.
In 1905 there were 19 fatalities nationwide.