Dangers Of Football Essay

Football: A Game of Dangers Imagine being out on a field in the high heat of a summer afternoon. In full pads and a helmet, getting ready to start a 2 hour game. Teenagers of various heights and weights, all running at each other defending the football. Massive linemen collide with lean running backs. Players running back and forth a 100 yard field. Now imagine being tackled, being tack to the ground by one or more other players. Helmets colliding, ankles twisting, and backs smacking the ground. Tackles like this happening 120 times in one game.

This repetitive action can cause serious damage to anyone playing the sport. Concussions, improper safety equipment, and even fatalities, are the many aspects and outcomes of football, for these reasons parents should prevent their kids from playing football. Getting one concussion isn’t detrimental. It’s possible to get a concussion from falling off your bike, or going down when walking on ice on a parking lot. However “playing football increases the chance of getting a concussion by 75%” (Sports Concussion Institute, 1).

Those odds are extremely high for an activity that is supposed to be fun for teens and kids. The more times someone gets a concussion, makes it more likely to have serious effects down the road. The odds of a fall in everyday life situations giving someone a concussion is no where near as great as playing football. “A stationary player can be tackled at a speed of 25 mph” (Sports Concussion Institute, 1). The average high school linebacker is around 6’1 feet tall and weighs about 210 pounds (Go Big Recruiting, 2). Image getting hit with a 210 pound object at that speed!

If a parent allows teens to play such a brutal sport, they should look at the statistics first. There is usually 120 plays in a football game, which gives a player 120 chances to be tackled. Hits like this that happen repeatedly are why the chance to get a concussion is 75%. “A concussion can be caused by a direct blow to the head or an indirect blow to the body” (Sports Concussion Institute, 1). Players that get tackled by the lower half of their body may be in pain but may not get tested for a concussion since they weren’t hit in the head.

Some may say that schools are on top of treatment when athletes get concussions by using impact tests and keeping the students away from strenuous activity and bright lights. In reality, concussions go untreated all the time. Many concussions go untreated because 47% of players don’t report their symptoms (Sports Concussion Institute, 2) and players get back on the field while concussed. This is a major problem, because the athlete is worsening the concussion and recovery will take even longer for that player. Returning to the game without fully healing the concussion is known as “Second Impact Syndrome”.

Second Impact Syndrome is when the brain is not fully healed from a previous concussion and suffers another head impact. This is extremely important to avoid. Second Impact Syndrome results in swelling of the brain, hernias, decrease in mental capacity, and in some cases this syndrome can be fatal (Perez, 1). The symptoms of a concussion include physical disturbances such as headaches or nausea. There are also cognitive symptoms like memory loss or trouble focusing. A concussion can also bring trouble with sleep, changes in appetite and energy levels.

A recent study from the researchers at the University of Toronto shows that adults who have suffered concussions are at a higher risk of death by suicide. What linked concussions and suicide together was the high-profile suicides by NFL players When Junior Seau and Dave Duerson committed suicide the media and researchers started to investigate. Toronto researchers discovered that it’s not just pro football players or military veterans that commit suicide after suffering multiple concussions, but it is also normal people in the community.

Due o these findings, researchers and medical experts have warned people to seek the proper medical attention as soon as possible when faced with a brain injury, such as a concussion (Waldron, 3). Concussions are a serious injury that should never be taken lightly. Football is a very popular sport in America. Just about every school has a football team and kids start playing in pee wee leagues before they even reach high school. The lessons kids learn by being a participant in a sport are very important for both social and physical development. Kids learn how to work together as a team, how to strategize, and build friendships.

The coaches become role models and the players want to listen to what the coach says and to please the coach by trying their hardest. Physically, kids get tons of exercise while practicing and conditioning for sports. The desire for competition is usually in both player and parent. However, there are other sports that give a child all the same benefits of being a part of a team that are much safer than football. Swimming is one of the safest sports anyone could play. Swim teams build the same team work skills that football does and the physical benefits of swimming are great.

In a 2 hour practice a swimmer can burn around 1,180 calories (Wood, 1). The sport is non-contact so the chances of injury are very low. Swimming is a great way to exercise and build coordination. Another sport that meets all the social and physical needs of football is tennis. Tennis a great way to build teamwork skills. Not only can tennis help with socialization, it also helps with individual growth. Tennis can be played in doubles or singles. Playing singles lets the child thrive on their own and demonstrate all the skills they learn from the coach.

If someone wants their child to be an athlete and reap the many benefits from being a part of an organized sport, there are many other activities that children and teens can join other than football. There are a lot of safety equipment used in the game of football. Helmets, shoulder pads, mouth guards, and athletic cups help keep the players safe during the game. With all the protection given to players, people think athletes are safe from all harm. When in fact, football players have a 75% chance of getting a concussion. Researchers at Virginia Tech have been studying helmets and rating them by the level of safety.

The researchers have found that no helmet can completely prevent a concussion, or at least one has not been invented vet. The een invented yet. The people of Virginia Tech have created a rating system from 1-5 stars, 5 stars being the safest. Most high school football teams are using helmets in the 2-3 star range, while NFL players use 5 star rated helmets (Hruby, 1). Even with using the 5 star rated helmets, NFL players get concussions or other injuries constantly. It is even more unsafe for less trained players in high school to be using 2-3 star rated helmets.

Their likelihood for a concussion and Second Impact Syndrome are very high. Safer equipment should be used, but still isn’t a 100% prevention of disaster. Now a person’s life could end while walking across the street or shopping for new shoes. But how would a parent feel if their child lost their life doing something that, that parent signed them up for? The word “sport” and “game” tricks people into thinking there is little danger involved, major injury isn’t even possible. Fatalities in football or because of a football related injury have happened and have happened more than in other sports.

For an example, a 16 year old boy from Boston Central High School died during a football game from a head to head collision, the collision knocked him unconscious (DeNisco, 1). Six other players have already died in the fall in the year of 2015. To name a few, Tyrell Cameron, Roddrick Williams, and Cam’ron Matthews have all passed away. Tyrell died from breaking his neck during a punt return, Roddrick collapsed at practice, and Cam’ron told his teammates, he felt dizzy at a practice, and then suddenly starting seizing (Fernandez, 4).

“More than 100 kids have died from football in the last decade. (Fernandez, 4). Something so serious can happen in a split second when playing this dangerous sport. Although the chances of a fatality are low, injuries occurred on the field can be fatal. Over the course of a 20 year period 243 deaths from football, professional and high school was reported to The National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research. That’s an average of about 12 deaths a year from playing football. Out of these 243 fatalities, 79 were instant, traumatic deaths. The most common ways of death, however are heat illness, heart failure, or brain injury (Boden, 1).

How can a sport with this high of injury risks and death rates be encouraged to play by parents? Parents are faced with difficult decisions every day. Parents want to make their kids happy and ensure their success in life. The main factor when making decisions should be safety. Parents want kids to have every opportunity and to develop socially and physically. Football is a way to do that, but it comes with such a cost. The risk for a concussion is way above 75 percent and the risk for Second Impact Syndrome if the concussion goes untreated could have fatal consequences.

The amount of fatalities is way too high, and the required safety equipment isn’t doing that much to prevent injury. Parents can decide to sign kids up for sports that are safe. Sports such as swimming, tennis, and golf. Non-contact sports are the way to go to prevent as much injury as possible. Almost every organized activity will give a child the social and physical tools to develop into a good citizen. Responsible parents will choose to put their child in a sport that ensures a child’s safety. Parents should see the danger of football for what it is and prevent children from participating.