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Cervantes: Is football too dangerous?

BY CHRISTOPHER CERVANTES | OCTOBER 06, 2014 5:00 AM

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If there were one sport that personifies my family, it would have to be football. My father played, as did my uncles, most of my cousins, and, most recently, my little brother. And whether we are on the field or in the stands, the adrenaline rush we get from the game is positively euphoric.

But that can all change in just one play. One extremely forceful tackle could seriously hurt a player. Recently, it seems that the game of football has fallen under criticism for its practices.

In the last couple of weeks, four football players faced fatal circumstances associated with their sport. Two of these deaths were due to collision-related trauma and the other was during practice.

The only non-fatality among them is Michigan quarterback Shane Morris, who suffered a severe concussion and sprained ankle due to what Athletics Director Dave Brandon said was “failure of communication that took place between the doctors [and] all of the trainers.”

There’s a constant question that concerned parents and certain medical professionals seem to ask whenever the worst possible outcome appears in the sport: Is the game of football too dangerous?

A study produced by The Nation Center For Catastrophic Sport Injury Research (a study that focused on the time between 1960-2013) revealed a shocking truth. It states that about 66 percent of all deaths associated with American football happens in high school. The study also revealed the number of those deaths: 686.

This, in itself, sounds awful and tragic. It seems so needless to see so much suffering all in the name of entertainment. It becomes apparent why people think that football is far too dangerous in its present state. They think that it is a celebrated way of allowing pain in order to play a simple game.

Despite all this, I disagree.

The more research I do on both the injury and fatality rates of the sport, the more I noticed a not-so-surprising occurrence. It seems that these rates have gone down significantly. In fact, at present, the largest number of deaths pertaining to football-related injuries is barely a handful. It is only a tragic coincidence that three deaths happened in the same week.

Most of the people who have cried out on this subject don’t hate football. What they hate is seeing children suffering and dying in a game. Yes, the players are tough and disciplined, but they are still kids.  And no matter what happens in the world, when children die, it is a particularly hard bit of news to swallow. The fact that it happens while people cheer them on to hit each other adds an extra touch of guilt to make the feeling so much worse.

This argument is going to simply disappear again. It’s a cycle really, which starts when some young person ends up severely injured or worse, and then it stops all over again. But time has proven that we, as concerned individuals, are taking measures to ensure the safety of the football players. As time goes on even more, I am certain that fatality rates will almost be nonexistent. Until then, we will just play on.


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