Playing Football:

Is playing football worth enduring the potential risks?

Imagine the following scenario: Joe, a 14 year old football player heads to a football practice after school. As his 10 week season goes on, Joe takes part in about 30-40 practices and about 10-12 games. If Joe collides 15 times during each practice with other players, and 20 times during each game, that means that Joe endures about 750 hits per season. Now, think about the damage Joe will endure throughout his football career whether or not it will be worth the minor satisfaction the sport of football gives a player. New studies link concussions from football to serious brain damage, making football too dangerous to play.

Repetitive blows to the head in high-impact sports like football place athletes at the risk of permanent brain damage. As players of all ages engage in football practices and games on a day to day basis, they come closer to ruining their lives as brain diseases manifest inside of them. In Adam Kaufman's editorial he mentions that, "76 of 79 deceased NFL players studied at the Department of Veterans Affairs' brain repository in Bedford Massachusetts suffered from the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. We know it as C.T.E., which is caused by repeated trauma to the head. The disease has left countless players- from high school to the pros- with long lasting issues involving memory loss, depression, confusion, impaired judgement or dementia, among other symptoms." When players go out onto the football field and damage their brains, the damage that they endure is irreversible. Why should football players damage their brains for the rest of their lives? Playing football is irrational. The game of football is a very dangerous and hazardous sport. Bennet Omalu, the first person to discover C.T.E., states in his editorial, "The risk of permanent impairment is heightened by the fact that the brain, unlike most other organs, doesn't have the capacity to cure itself following all types of injuries. In more than 30 years of looking at normal brain cells in a microscope, I have yet to see a neuron that naturally creates a new neuron to regenerate itself."

David Marcus, the author of the editorial, "Why I Don't Want My Son To Play Football" states in his writing that a few of his friends that were in the NFL gave up on the NFL due to the sport's dangerous playing conditions. These NFL players realized that their overall health for the rest of their lives was more important than gaining satisfaction for a small portion of their lives through football. However, some young players and even professionals don't realize the mistake they are making by damaging their bodies playing football. Adam Kaufman explains in his editorial, "Why I'll Never Let My Sons Play Football", "Football related activities sent an average of 25,400 kids under the age of 19 to the emergency room every year for brain injuries, according to the data released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011." This quote expresses the dangers of the effects of youth players' naivety. Unlike other sports where significant injuries to players are uncommon, football forces players' bodies to endure unnatural abuse. In football, injuries to the human body are a normal part of the game.

As the game of football becomes more violent, dangerous and unforgiving, many parents are regretting letting their children play football. Professionals and former football players have also rethought playing for the NFL, they believed that the fame and fortune they earned from football wasn't worth giving up their health. According to the editorial "Why I'll Never Let My Sons Play Football" by Adam Kaufman, "Current and former NFL greats like Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson, and Kurt Warner have all recently said that they would be reluctant to let their own kids play the very sport that made them both famous and wealthy beyond imagination. Some said that they'd prefer their children take up golf, tennis, or soccer." Though football players enjoy the fame and wealth they earn through playing the extremely dangerous game of football, NFL players agree that the benefits of the game aren't worth enduring the potential risks. Most football players would rather have a healthy life than be rich and famous with poor brain health for the rest of their lives. Football players want the same future of brain health for their children too. According to an editorial written by Adam Kaufman, "Two years ago, Tom Brady's father, Tom Sr. told Yahoo! Sports he would be very hesitant to let his Hall of Fame- bound son play football today if his boy was still in his early teens. That thought alone might make Patriots fans shiver."

Critics argue that the game of football teaches teamwork and camaraderie, helps players to grow as individuals, helps players to develop lifelong friendships, and helps players achieve great grades in the classroom as well. (McCampbell) On the other hand, many other sports such as soccer and basketball can help teach children about teamwork and camaraderie without causing trauma to the child's body from playing the sport. Also, it's difficult for a child to do well in school if he is clashing heads with teammates at practice in the same week.

New studies show that concussions obtained from playing the sport of football are linked to serious brain damage, making football too dangerous to play. Everyday football players all over the world mindlessly take part in football games and practices. Meanwhile, none of these players are aware of the potential risks that come with playing football. These risks could affect these players for the rest of their lives.
The NFL's concussion crisis, explained