The Hazards of Playing Football

Kennedy Baker, Reporter

People tend to idolize football but never really factor in the dangers of the game itself.

Studies from the Journal of American Medicine have shown that 99 percent of NFL players, 91 percent of college football players, and 21 percent of high school football players suffer from Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). 

CTE is a brain condition caused by repeated hits to the head, which has no cure or treatment methods.

The symptoms include memory loss, aggression, depression, confusion, impaired judgment, etc. It also increases the chances of dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and many more.

If you are diagnosed with CTE  The life expectancy is 51 years.

Additional research has been done to show just how dangerous this sport is. According to the website Science,  the average age of death for football players is 59.6 years. Now, compare that to the average age of death for men (according to the Center for Disease Control ) is 73.2 years. 

The statistics show that these NFL players are dying well before they should because of football. 

According to St. Luke’s Health, football causes the most injuries out of all school sports with an annual number of 455,449 high overall injury rate.

While not all injuries are life-threatening, there are still many injuries with long-term effects. 

The most common injuries in football are knee injuries such as an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and a Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL). 

The ACL is the most common injury;  it is a complete tear and requires surgery because football players run a lot and the pressure goes to the knee. 

PCL is a mild injury with partial tears, and takes approximately ten days to recover, but will still cause potential pain or problem to a player in the future.

These minor injuries in a player’s career build up over time and worsen over time, and could later lead to diseases, mental health issues, death, etc. 

A lot of times players will continue practicing/playing while injured making it worse.

The NFL recognizes the continued potential dangers of the sport, and last year they approved alternative helmets to help reduce brain injuries. 

The NFL previously had a rule that went against this called the “One Shell Rule”. Stating that each player should only have one helmet because if one helmet was not worn as much it will not be adequately protected their heads.

Yet another major issue NFL players are tackling is their disability after sustaining injuries. 

Stated by NFL Player’s Disability Insurance Policy Explained, the NFL implemented a new disability policy in May 2020 stating that the maximum amount of money per month is $4,000, before it switched, the maximum was $22,000.

The program is difficult to navigate and almost impossible to successfully complete. Former Viking’s player Brent Boyd made the phrase: “Delay, deny and hope we die.”

Currently, a lot of players have lawsuits against the NFL because they make it impossible for most players to benefit from it. 

Football is already a dangerous sport as it is, and yet, the NFL is still not willing to give their players their rights after putting their lives in jeopardy.