Concussive consequences: Football poses unnecessary health risks
By Chancellor Mentink, Reporter
Football is one of the most notable American sports, acting as the center for many family traditions. However, it is also one of the most dangerous sports in the world. With higher rates of serious brain damage than other competitive sports such as soccer, football can lead to severe trauma and permanent mental problems. Football is the most likely high school sport to lead to injuries which can cause severe and repeated damage. For these reasons, I believe that this brain damaging form of football should not be a highschool sport, perhaps being replaced with flag football or some other alternative. Having students play under these terrible conditions is immoral and senseless.
The biggest safety difference between football and most other school sports is the extraordinary rate of concussions and the severity of the injuries. According to The National Library of Medicine, in 2017, 99 percent of all football players in the NFL had Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which is a symptom of concussions that leads to problems such as amnesia. CTE has much less presence in other sports with moderately similar concussion rates, like soccer. Football is the most likely sport professionally to lead to CTE because of the severity of the injuries caused by the rapid succession of head to head contact. These problems with CTE to this degree are not present in any other professional sport in America.
High school sports are a completely different medical world than professional sports. Professional football has the highest likelihood of concussions, but in high school, soccer is the most likely culprit of concussions. However, the key difference in high school sports is the severity of football injuries. Football injuries account for around 30 percent of sports related injuries and are more likely to lead to recurrent injuries and severe mental problems. It is unacceptable to throw away a kid’s cognitive ability just for the success of a small team.
It is unhealthy for young football players to be put in situations where the likeliness of permanent severe mental damage is prominent. Unpaid players should not be allowed to ruin their brains by smashing into other kids. High school students should not be allowed to play a sport that puts them at such a high risk. The health risks of football do not outweigh the positive sides of the sport, and it should not be offered at schools.