In its "Room for Debate" series, the NY Times asks if Pro Football can be made safer. Unfortunately, few strong ideas come out--the standard idea that players must be made aware of risks and report symptoms are the most prominent. Another advises to limit hits during practice and have "hit counts" similar to pitch counts for youth football.
Its an important topic, because safety may ultimately be the downfall of organized football. If an athlete were to die during an NFL game, its easy to see serious reprecussions for the league and football in general. As it is, youth football participation is already declining somewhat due to safety concerns--my wife is glad we're having a daughter because she doesn't want our children to play (despite being a huge Chargers fan).