What Events and Arguments led to the Rule Changes in American Football in 1905 and 1910

William Guthrie Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Paul Hanson Butler University
Football has taken on a large role in our daily lives. One can attend or watch a game five or more days a week and one can follow the sport year long. The sport has come under heavy scrutiny in recent years for the physical toll it takes on its players, particularly in the form of concussions and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. This, however, is not the first time that there has been a public reaction against injuries caused by football. This project will look at the occurrences of injuries in football from the nineteenth century to the time when rule changes were established in order to lessen the injuries induced by football in 19055 and 1910. In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century injuries due to football were common and the public was lashing back at the sport. Football caused injuries and deaths in this time period and incited many opinion articles about the value of the sport and its place in American society. Football in this time period lacked many of the innovations of the modern game, such as the forward pass, as well as protective gear. This project will also examine the public reactions to these injuries and how they created the changes in 1905 and 1910. Utilizing news articles from the time, secondary sources about football in that time period, and other primary sources I will seek to create an understanding of the events that led to a public reaction, the extent of the public reaction, and how this public reaction led to the rule changes of 1905 and 1910.
Poster Presentation

When & Where

Irwin Library 3rd Floor