Earlier today… a few hours ago to be exact, I was talking to a friend of mine. I am going to keep his identity anonymous, merely because I do not have permission to use his quotes, but he is a local football player who has logged many hours on his varsity football team.
During our conversation, I asked him a question somewhere along the line of “are you going to play football in college?”
This sparked a curious answer, certainly not the answer that I expected.
Without missing a beat, he laughed and said “No, are you kidding? I don’t want to be dead by 35.” That is coming from what some might call a “star” of his football team, and you can probably guess how surprised I was.
Our conversation continued about the dangers of concussions and how prominent they are in football, even going as far as to talk about the effects his own concussions have had on him. This topic has been present for many football analysts and NFL employees, but I’ve never thought about the phycological effect it has on youth playing football.
Imagine how doubt inducing, frightening even, it must be to see reports of more and more brain damage and permanent injuries football players are experiencing, and finding yourself in the struggle of continuing with the sport you love at the risk of your own well being.
Imagine lining up for a play and thinking about the permanent affect a tackle could have on your life.
It is an inner struggle football players are facing everyday, now, and more and more are bowing out in favor of other sports. For example; the before mentioned football player, who plans on trying for baseball scholarships instead because of the many dangers of football.
Even the kids of our generation understand the extreme health risks associated with football, and it makes them think twice before grabbing a helmet.
America’s favorite sport is deathly dangerous, and thats just matter of fact. Youth are choosing other sports more and more, and parents are encouraging football less and less. Even in the pure viewership, things are changing.
The number of people watching the MLS (Major League Soccer) is growing at a faster rate than any other league on the planet, while NFL viewership is steadily dropping. Kids are preferring sports like soccer and lacrosse over football, and parents couldn’t be happier.
So although we love football, and although it is a great American tradition, at what cost are we willing to keep it on its pedestal?
Written by Jaxson Thornton