UNITED STATES—Football is the quintessential American sport. I mean, I don’t know an American who isn’t a fan of the sport. After watching my nephews little league football game this weekend, I was baffled at something that had crossed my mind before, but didn’t really strike me until this past weekend.
Football is a dangerous sport! The physical combat element of the game is epic to most fans watching, but do we ever think about the ramifications of the impacts to the body and the brain.
There has always been that ongoing debate of rather, football should go back to being two-hand touch or flag football. I understand the reasoning behind it as I get older. I say 8 and 9 year-old kids literally take devastating blows and tackles and a bunch of things flashed in my head. What happens if someone breaks a leg, what about head trauma, what about physical ailments to the body.
Everything that could possibly go wrong with the sport flooded my memory like crazy. A few players took a few devastating blows and many of the parents in the stands wondered if the kids would bounce back. They did, but that level of worry just left me reeling the rest of the day.
Fast-forward to Sunday, where I’m watching the Seattle Seahawks do battle against the Dallas Cowboys. One of the players from the Seahawks team took a devastating blow where he laid motionless for several seconds. The game came to an immediate halt and viewers and fans alone were left wondering what happened with the player.
Was he seriously hurt? The thought of paralysis was buzzing in the room; some even speculated if the player broke his neck. After several minutes, the player was hoisted off the field and was able to move his arms to notify fans and viewers that he was indeed okay. Was it a scary moment, you better believe it? However, it raises the question of the dangers that the football field poses to the players.
I mean they play in extreme heat, extreme cold, in the rain and the snow, the only time a football game is halted is when lightening is present or something epic like a tornado or hurricane is in the vicinity. When players take devastating blows, it’s something most spectators in the stands root and cheer for, not knowing that brutal impact could be the end of one player’s career.
It happens time and time again when a player’s entire career goes down in flames because of an injury endured on the field. One moment they are on top, the next moment everything and I mean everything has changed. While I never played recreational football, I played it as a kid growing up and the blows can be downright vicious and can leave one’s body bruised and battered the next day.
Perhaps it’s time to have the long delayed conversation about the physical dangers of football. It may be all fun and games from the TV screen or in the stands, but for the players on the field, one wrong move can spell disaster in a matter of seconds or in the near future. We have discussed the issue to a degree, but with more and more professional players suffering debilitating issues as they age, I think it is time to address the issue head on and not sugarcoat things any longer.