Malcolm Gladwell has a nice article in the New Yorker about how football players are, in some respects similar to dogs used in dogfights.  Their masters love what they do, despite the probability of their getting hurt really badly.

Gladwell points out recent research on head in juries indicating that football players may be a lot more damaged than people think, especially the linemen, who generally have to use their heads.  Lot’s of little hits add up.

In the end, there’s probably not much to be done about the football situation, except educate the players to at least stop when they are hurt, so as not to make things worse.  Dogfighting is outlawed, at least for the present.  Maybe it will come back.