With ten seconds left in the game, with no timeouts, the quarterback hurls a perfect spiral to the wide receiver who catches the game-winning pass. Inches away from catching this pass, a 300-pound linebacker charges at the receiver in a death angle, and lays him out on the field. This receiver will never know if he either lost or won the game for his team, because everything went black.
Now if I was to tell you that this receiver; who is fifteen-years-old, died during that play, would this change your perception on the game of football? According to National Center For Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, on average fourteen high school football players die from playing football each year. With this new epidemic in the sports world, it begs to ask whether kids should be allowed to play football?
With the NFL, we’ve learned much about the dangers of concussions at the professional level. We’re only now seeing the long-term effects of repeated brain injuries by past NFL players. With these head injuries it has been linked to mood swings, suicidal thoughts, Alzheimer’s and/or dementia. As stated by Analysis Research and Planning, which is commissioned by these athletes, almost 30% of NFL Players will get Alzheimer’s or dementia in their lifetime. These statistics place players above the general population. If these repeated blows to head are causing health problems to players with developed brains, than how these injuries going to affect children whose brain is not even fully developed?
Even though football has some major flaws, it is still a great sport for any child to play. As avid fan of this game, I see how football is a positive force in the sports world. Football brings communities together, teaches life lessons to young players, and most importantly is fun. Before the fame and fortune in NFL, these players were just kids who enjoyed this game, because it made them happy. It begs to wonder should happiness of children outweigh the health problems of football?
If your child wants to play football, then let them play football. However, the child should not start playing serious football until they are freshman in high school. In the meantime, Youth Football programs should just be flag football, so it can ensure the safety of the kids. When a child starts playing football, parents need to ask questions about the game, consider the dangers, and demand the utmost protection for their kids. Parents need to ask themselves if the department is doing enough for their child, if not, than they have to say no to football.