It's a game adored by millions, but now the violent hits that are often celebrated are now the number one cause of head injury and concussion in football.
Wheeling attorney Bob Fitzsimmons has been one of the most active men in the country when it comes to understanding the affects a concussion can have on the brain.
On Wednesday, WTRF.com learned a new study has produced an amazing breakthrough.
"This study shows the capability we now have to analyze the brains of living athletes. It truly is a breakthrough and I think will be one of the biggest medical advances of the year, " said Fitzsimmons.
The Positron Emission Tomography or PET tracks down the existence of a certain protein in the brain, caused by a severe brain injury.
"The scan allows us to dictate what course of action to take after a concussion, even if its as simple as withdrawing from play or something more serious," said Fitzsimmons.
Fitzsimmons said this is just a start to understanding what can be done to ultimately save lives.