Millions of players, thousands of injuries, hundreds of deaths. High School and College sum around 12.2 deaths per year, by just playing the sport. On top of that, In just 5 years, the NCAA has counted for 41,000 injuries. The sport begs the need for safer equipment and the mentality of the sport… fast.
Normally, a football player’s health and life should be protected when stepping on the field. However, with the current name of the game, this is wrong. As football is enhancing with bigger, faster, and stronger players, technology is falling far behind. Bigger hits lead to bigger consequences. Most longterm football players obtain C.T.E (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) which is a progressive brain disease caused by numerous blows to the head. C.T.E changes the structure of the player’s brain and can make “gaps” inside it. This results in memory loss, severe headaches, violent behavior, and can result in suicide. This can all be prevented with better safety.
Football safety could change the sport forever. It’s to the point where concussions and other head injuries are considered usual on the field. “Degenerative brain disease was found in 76 of 79 former pro players,” states the Department of Veterans Affairs. While millions of fans root for these big hits, millions are impacted by what these big hits cause.
Those who say the safeness of the game for such a violent sport is at a comfortable spot, are greatly mistaken. Nobody signs up for sports to die. Evan Murray, a quarterback at Warren Hills Regional High School fell down unconscious after a big hit on the field, and later died that night. Any death in sports or even injury is simply too many, and a truly comfortable spot should be zero.
So what should we do? Follow in the footsteps of others, and make our own. For the youth, the mentality of the game needs to change. Head (Helmet) tackles should be banned. Head injuries were problematic in youth soccer, so they placed a rule, “Players 10 years old or younger cannot be taught the skill of heading and cannot intentionally head the ball in a competitive game,” states mandate. This needs to happen for youth football, a rule must be set that makes kids 14 or younger not be allowed to make head tackles, then is dropped at High School.
For the more developed, safety equipment needs to be stressed. Helmets need more padding with new designs, neck protection must be made and worn, and all forms of current equipment need to be made safer. Is it going to be hard? Yes. But in the end, we are truly making this a safer sport.