College football in the early days was a very rough game...
...even though the players were Leprechaun-sized. Because of the many deaths and serious injuries, the Roosevelt Commission of 1905 made a lot of rules changes, opening up the game and reducing the violence. For example, the “Flying Wedge” was outlawed and the forward pass was legalized.
Here’s a poem which illustrates the roughness of the game, in 1893:
No, it was not the railway wreck
That made him blind and lame;
He lost his eyes, his leg and nose
In a college football game.
“The Cleveland Press”