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North Carolina coach Larry Fedora believes football is “under attack” and that players must weigh the “risk versus the rewards” of the sport.

North Carolina coach Larry Fedora drew heat for doubting a link between football and CTE at Wednesday’s ACC Kickoff event, saying he believed there were people using the data in hopes of destroying the game.

Fedora was asked about changes to the kickoff rule in college football, and he offered an extended oratory disputing the relationship between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy and suggested that softening the game could be part of a larger concern.

“Our game is under attack,” Fedora told reporters. “I fear the game will be pushed so far from what we know that we won’t recognize it in 10 years. And if it does, our country will go down, too.”

Fedora said he had talked to military personnel who had suggested the success of the United States military was due, in part, to the number of football players who went on to join the armed forces.

After questioning the evidence tying CTE and football, Fedora later backtracked slightly by saying football simply was not alone in dealing with head injuries, and he argued that the game is currently safer than ever before.

“I’m not sure that anything is proven that football, itself, causes [CTE],” Fedora said. “My understanding is that repeated blows to the head cause it, so I’m assuming that every sport we have, football included, could be a problem with that as long as you’ve got any kind of contact. That doesn’t diminish the fact that the game is still safer than it’s ever been because we continue to tweak the game to try to make it safer for our players.”


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