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No Game for Boys to PlayThe History of Youth Football and the Origins of a Public Health Crisis$
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Kathleen Bachynski

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653709

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653709.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Your Men Can Smash Through

Your Men Can Smash Through

Designing and Marketing Football Equipment

(p.48) Chapter Three Your Men Can Smash Through
No Game for Boys to Play

Kathleen Bachynski

University of North Carolina Press

By the mid-twentieth century, the unusually large amount of protective gear involved in tackle football became inextricably tied to the sport’s collision nature. Pads and helmets symbolized the sport’s dangers and, it was believed, conferred the protection necessary to render such an aggressive game feasible. Football equipment advertisements aimed at children promoted ideals associated with particular forms of twentieth century American masculinity. Banishing fears, and inspiring confidence and toughness, would enable boys to “smash through” their opponents. The embrace of manufacturers’ contributions to enhancing safety equipment was far more widespread than cynicism about the influence of financial motives. Most sports administrators contended that investment in top quality equipment clearly signified a program’s commitment to safety. Yet some doctors and engineers continued to question how much protection even the best equipment might afford the players who collided with one another on the gridiron.

Keywords:   Advertisements, Equipment, Helmets, Manufacturers, Masculinity, Protective gear

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