Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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The Dangers of Football

Victorian Football

The Lancet says: “We do not hesitate to say that football nowadays too often degenerates into a species of “free fight.” The numbers of broken legs and other accidents already sustained this season bear tribute to this. We have no wish to see the game done away with. It is enormously popular, and affords recreation and exercise to thousands, many of whom were football abolished, might spend their time in a much worse manner. But we are strongly of the opinion that it must be modified. Surely regulations could be devised which whilst retaining the manly character of the game would reduce the undue element of danger. It is regrettable that at some schools the playing of football by the boys is made a compulsory matter. At schools the game is played under the best conditions, the masters being able to check any unruly rough play, and the players are boys, not men. But no boy should be compelled to play such a game as football.”

The British Medical Journal says: “Newspapers generally have a paragraph on Monday giving particulars of a few of the accidents of the previous Saturday. Last week, for example, two accidents are reported, both cases resulting in fracture of the leg. But as long as a man can walk off the ground, the injuries he may have received are not, as a rule, mentioned. Such trifles as a fractured collar-bone, or a dislocated shoulder, are apparently of such extremely common occurrences that the writers who contribute descriptions of football matches to local or sporting papers do not consider them worthy of mention.”

Source: Isle of Wight Observer 27 November 1886
Picture source: Victorian football, published by GOTP Editorial – NF Jensen gameof the people.com