The Ugly Truth about Football

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Football is one of America’s favorite past time. We love seeing colossal men knocking the crap out of each other every Sunday during the fall. But with every hit, it can lead to a concussion. A concussion is a brain injury that may be caused by a blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an ‘impulsive’ force transmitted to the head (2016 And 2017 Ncaa Football Rules and Interpretations FR-113) [2]. I personally played sports in High School and luckily never got a concussion, but some of my friends did. When talking to them they seemed to be different. Maybe their head hurts or that they are upset that they could not practice at all. Some of my friends quit their sport because of their concussion. That made me wonder, should changes be made to make sports safer? Organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association or the National Football League must make changes in regulations to protect athletes from a concussion.

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Paul S. Auerbach in his January 20, 2018, Wall Street Journal titled How to Save Football Players’ Brains, said During a high-school season, one study finds, nearly 1 in 5 players on any given team will suffer a concussion. [1]. That is crazy. But who do we blame for it? The leagues are to blame for this. There’s one area outside the NCAA’s purview that deserves a good public hearing the distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars generated by the College Football Playoff (Duncan and Rolle) [2]. If the College Football Playoff can generate this money, a good portion of it should be devoted towards research and programs that deal with concussions. What is hard to understand is how the NCAA …devotes resources to these national challenges, using money generated by its March Madness basketball tournament, but the College Football Playoff does not (Duncan and Rolle) [4]. The College Football Playoff does not like being told what to do by others. Over the past year, the Knight Commission has urged the College Football Playoff board of managers to adopt these two changes, but the CFP has rejected our recommendations (Duncan and Rolle) [2]. The Knight Commission is a board of people who make sure that student-athletes are getting their education, but how can they when every time a football gets hit and gets a concussion? The CFP is to blame for not giving the students athletes proper resources and preventions against concussions.

In recent events, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), has been linked to football players who have received trauma to the head multiple times. CTE is a bit of gray area but it has been proven to cause death. Twenty-one-year-old Tyler Hilinski, a quarterback at Washington State, developed early stages of CTE and took his own life in January 2018. When the autopsy came back it showed that he had a brain of a sixty-five-year-old (Auerbach) [3]. This is very interesting because usually, the quarterback does not receive contact as often when comparing by positions. His parents say their son did not have a history of concussions or head trauma, though he did take a hit against Arizona last season that ‘rocked’ him (Auerbach) [2]. While this statement may be true, athletes have spoken said that they have hidden their concussions. Howard Fendrich, in his December 26, 2011, Miami Herald article titled “Some NFL Players Still Willing to Hide Concussions,” quotes Mike Sellers about NFL players hiding concussions: You want to continue to play. You’re a competitor. You’re not going to tell on yourself. There have been times I’ve been dinged, and they’ve taken my helmet from me, and … I’d snatch my helmet back and get back on the field, A lot of guys wouldn’t say anything because a lot of guys wouldn’t think anything during the game, until afterward when they have a headache or they can’t remember certain things” [1]. Parents should be aware of the possibilities of their child playing football and know the symptoms of concussion to protect them no matter what age they are.

While so football has been known to possibly cause serious conditions in the players future, there are positive of playing football. From personal experience, football taught me important life skills like teamwork, responsibilities, and discipline. I am not saying that the benefits outweigh the risk but these are necessary life skills to learn. Government officials like Florida Senator Marco Rubio have noted the dangers of children playing football but then said this, “You know what else comes with some risk? Life” (Belson) [4]. Every day people take risk and people who play football are risking their future health every day.

The athletes who play football could be placed in a better position to protect themselves from concussions, but the changes will be a dramatic game changer. Tackling should only take place at the middle school level or higher (Auerbach) [3]. It’s had been proven that with every tackle delivered or received that the brain is deteriorating. These children are the future of America and if they get seriously injured their lives would be changed forever. At the high school level and below practices should not have live tackling session. This will help a significant amount since, in practice, teams can learn the fundamentals of safe tackling and not have their player’s own teammate be the cause of a concussion. This not saying the game should not have to tackle at all, it is saying how should be no tackling at all during practice. If a player is tackled and their head hits the ground first, they should be taken out of the next play to be evaluated by an athletic trainer to make sure that they have sustained no injury. This may make the game longer, but it is for the safety of the players. With these possible changes that could take place, it can make the game of football a little bit safer.

The bottom line is that change needs to be made. It first starts off with organizations like the College Football Playoff use a part of their revenue to do some research dealing with players safety towards concussion. Then Parents need to be notified on how letting their child play football can be a huge risk in their future. Lastly, the change needs to be implemented and enforce to make sure that the children are playing at the safest level possible. While football may have an abundant amount of dangers its’ benefits are not to be taken lightly by children important life skills. These young children do not want to stop playing football, but in order for them to play, major changes need to be made to make the game safe and it starts by informing others.

Works Cited

2016 And 2017 Ncaa Football Rules and Interpretations. Natl Collegiate Ath Assn, 2016.

Belson, Ken. “Football’s Biggest Supporters Say Game is Safe, and Vital to the U.S.” New York Times, 31 Jan. 2018, pp. B.8. SIRS Issues Researcher,

Auerbach, Paul S. “How to Save Football Players’ Brains.” Wall Street Journal, 20 Jan. 2018, pp. A.11. SIRS Issues Researcher,

Duncan, Arne, and Myron Rolle. “Knight Commission Says NCAA must do More to Protect Safety..” Indianapolis Star, 04 Feb. 2018, pp. A.2. SIRS Issues Researcher,

“NIH and NFL Tackle Concussion Research.” NIH News Release, 16 Dec. 2013. SIRS Government Reporter,

Fendrich, Howard. “Some NFL Players Still Willing to Hide Concussions.” Miami Herald, 26 Dec. 2011. SIRS Issues Researcher,

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The Ugly Truth About Football. (2019, Apr 01). Retrieved November 26, 2022 , from

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