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Football is a contact sport; a fast-paced, hard-hitting game. It is the number one sports Americans love. The American football players in the NFL started off playing the sport they love at a young age. As of 2015, 1.23 million boys from the ages of six to twelve, played football as their sport. Most of America’s youth boys go into playing football with the mindset of excelling into the NFL. However, they should be aware of the dangerous repercussions that will follow while playing football. Every week thousands of men and boys across the country take part in football and every week these men and boys receive violent hits during the game. Frequently, because of these violent hits, the player receives a concussion. However, the long-term effects of concussions on players are not fully understood. New research shows that even a slight concussion in a football game can have lasting effects on a player. As a result of this research, children under the age of fourteen should not play tackle football.
There’s no question, football is the most popular spectator sport in the United States. Over one-third of the country tunes in for the Super Bowl. Despite the sport’s immense popularity, many parents are hesitant to let their children play it given the obvious injury risk. While there is a risk of injury — like any other sport — letting your child play football might not be as crazy as it sounds. Football at its core is not a soft sport, and contact is a pertinent aspect of the game. There is a literal and figurative lesson being taught: When you get knocked down, you must get back up. Football also teaches children to have fun; it’s a fun sport played by boys who also are there for fun. Yes, these facts are true. Football can be fun and it is indeed not a soft sport but that’s more reason why children shouldn’t play tackle football. It’s all fun and games until a ten-year-old boy receives a fatal concussion and can no longer play football.
Most of the deaths attributed to concussions from playing football are older boys and men. However, David Sumner a ten-year-old from Simi Valley, California died from head injuries sustained while playing football. He collapsed on the field and an autopsy later revealed he suffered an acute subdural hematoma. An acute subdural hematoma in football is rare, but it does happen. Children are more susceptible because of the size of their head and because their brain is still developing. Tackle football is dangerous and children are the most venerable to concussions received in the game. In recent years, a large quantity of research has been conducted on head injuries and concussions. Dr. Robert Cantu, the director of Boston University’s Center for the study of Traumatic Encephalopathy has been a leader in this research. He describes a concussion as, “shaking of the brain inside the skull that changes the alertness of the injured person”. A concussion can range from relatively mild to very profound. Until recently there were very few guidelines to help players and coaches diagnose a concussion. In fact, a football player was encouraged to just shake it off and go back in the game. But with the new understanding of what happens to the brain when a player receives a concussion, a player must be removed from the game after sustaining a concussion.
Concussions can seriously affect a football player’s health. Especially a child under the age of fourteen – their brain is still developing – can be the most dangerous thing for them. Football doesn’t just cause dangerous outcomes for the players but, it can cause the players to be dangerous. Take Ray Rice for instance. He was a beloved running back football player for the Baltimore Ravens. He had millions of fans going to games to watch him play against other teams. He was even soon to be married to his fiancée Janay Palmer. Yet, everything came to a halt when he physically assaulted her in an elevator. Ray Rice beat his wife-to-be. It was disgusting, abhorrent, and unforgivable. NFL players suffer repeated blows to the head every Sunday. A star player like Rice will get tackled hundreds of times every year. And there is evidence to suggest that all those hits to the brain may increase the propensity to commit domestic violence. Brian O’Connor of Futures Without Violence told Forbes Magazine, “NFL players are taught to be aggressive; they deal with all kinds of high-pressure stressors and triggers”, O’Connor pointed out, from a career that plays out on national TV to the possibility of getting cut from a team without a guaranteed salary.
There’s no debate that football itself changes the brains of its players. The NFL has admitted to it. The sport’s head injuries have long-lasting consequences — and may even alter personalities in the short term. NFL players are about four times more likely to be arrested for domestic abuse than you’d expect, based on their overall arrest rates. Counting Ray Rice, more than two-dozen pro football players have been arrested for domestic abuse in the past five years alone (FiveThirtyEight.com). Children aspiring to reach the NFL, and those who do get into the NFL, are at a possibility to be domestically violent. Football is teaching children to be aggressive and not in a good way. The smallest thing could trigger them, like nagging, and it could cause them to physically lash out at someone. It’s better to prevent a child from being domestically violent now than being too late and they become like Ray Rice.
Football is a great sport to watch, but not to play. Children under the age of fourteen should not play tackle football. Evidence has been shown that they are prone to get little to fatal concussions, and could become domestically violent if they still aspire to go into the NFL. The brain is still developing for children under the age of fourteen. Having them play football is dangerous for them. They could simply sprain their ankle or die at a young age. Or, even worse, get arrested at twenty-seven for beating their significant other in an elevator. Parents of children who want to play tackle football, take these factors into consideration. These factors will be the result of your child’s future if you let them play tackle football. Save your child from the dangerous repercussions of sport and do not let them play tackle football.