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This is a very hard topic. I think the medical/scientific community needs to do as many studies as possible to determine just how much damage can be done to the brains of young people when they play football. I also wonder about the effects of heading the ball countless times in soccer.
On the anti-football side: Football seems to be a major cause of brain damage (pending further study). This brain damage occurs not only on “big” hits but also on the more common hits that happen time and time again in the course of a practice. These traumas are especially (it appears) damaging for younger brains.
On the pro-football side: Everything has risks. You can get concussions doing all sorts of things. We have to balance the risks of concussion and brain damage with the benefits of playing football. These can be both health benefits (more muscle, better cardio) and psychological/social. We can’t just say “oh, you might get hurt” without recognizing that there will be some costs to kids who can’t play football.
The debate over pro football's safety continues to grow in volume and expand in both its ramifications on the game and in its breadth. Concussions aren't the only thing that researchers are now talking about...
To ban the sport from high school, it seems natural to look for evidence of what continued play can do to the brains and bodies of players as well as the lingering effects of the sport.
Finding this type of evidence should not be too challenging. Major news outlets cover football in all its aspects as NFL football has recently been dubbed the "most potent media force in America".
It is interesting that many of the games that men have played throughout history have prepared them for war. Learning to be tough through games has long been preparation for soldiery.
In addition, if men are not allowed to be a little rough in their sports and have outlets for their aggressive tendencies, the repercussions could be worse. There are many boys who kept themselves out of trouble by channeling their energies into aggressive sports. Of course, coaches need to be caring and not use their players when they have injuries or other issues.
According to a recent survey, when professional football players were interviewed and asked if they would still play, knowing the injuries that they have suffered and the repercussions, 95% replied that they definitely would.
I'm sure college football programs and the NFL would fight efforts to ban tackle football at the high school level. Football is a contact sport: Even smaller schools that sport 6-or-8 man teams and flag football programs can't escape contact completely. Many injuries still occur from light or no contact, so they are still bound to occur at any level. Today's modern equipment offers far more protection than in past decades, and constant rule changes are usually made in order to protect the player. College and pro football are multi-billion dollar businesses, and they rely on high school programs to fill their ranks. This doesn't make high school tackle football okay, but most of the players are willing to risk injury to participate in one of America's great national pasttimes.
There is no doubt in anyone's mind that football is a dangerous sport. Every single game players from all levels-from Pop Warner all the way up to professional- get hurt in some way. Unfortunately, this is something that would be hard to get rid of. Most people recognize that it is a very dangerous sport (with some injuries never fully healing, or even death), but it is also a sport that has been with American culture for many, many years, especially at the high school level. For most of the high school players, it is their one chance at glory; a majority will never play past their senior year of high school. Also, a great majority of the players are boys, and most boys love to wrestle, play hard, etc. They love the fact that it is a contact sport. So, while football is no doubt a dangerous sport at any level, I do not see it getting banned anytime soon.
Full contact sports are an important part of the lives of many teenagers and playing them is even a tradition in some families. There are benefits associated with participating in full contact sports such as improved personal skills and the reduced risk of obesity. However, teenagers can still receive these benefits by participating in an alternative form of full contact sports where contact is limited, such as flag football, or by participating in other sports or non-sports activities. Participating in full contact sports puts teenagers at risk of suffering from severe injuries including concussions, diffuse axonal injuries, spinal injuries, and bone fractures. These types of injuries may result in growth deformities, cognitive deficits, paralysis, coma, and even death. While it is true that there are inherent risks associated with the day-to-day activities in the lives of teenagers, or in the lives of any individual, the risks associated with full contact sports are easily avoidable. Teenagers should not be put at risk due to the popularity of a sport or for the mere sake of a game. With that said, public primary and secondary educational institutions should ban full contact sports.
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