BY JERRY HOFFMAN
After a heartbreaking past few weeks for the families, friends and teammates of three high school football players who died on the field from football related injuries, the sport as a whole is now in question due to the increase in injuries and on-field deaths.
One of the most fragile parts of the human body is the brain and the area around. The brain is also one of the most heavily used and abused parts of the body by football players. The three high school football players, for example, all died of concussions or head related injuries.
The truth about the sport is that football players are getting stronger at younger ages. So much stronger that the technology regarding the advancements of the protective gear that football players wear cannot keep up. This has been noticed throughout all levels of competition with the sport.
Both the NFL and the NCAA have banned players from using their heads to perform a tackle as well as targeting the head while making a tackle. This helps the players who make tackles and get tackled stay healthy and on the field, but the real problem lies with the linemen who fight in the trenches every single play. Following the snap of the ball, the lineman go head first into each other, which depending on the pace of the game, is anywhere between 50 to 70 times a game. Even if those constant collisions do not cause death, they do eventually take a toll on an athlete’s brain.
However, the tragic deaths of the young athletes is not the only problem that has landed football in news controversies recently. NFL players such as Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy are in the midst of accusations involving domestic abuse. Many speculators believe that the deaths of the three high school players and the domestic abuse accusations could be related.
Rice, Peterson and Hardy are all experienced football veterans who have had their heads knocked around quite a few times. While it is impossible to say with complete certainty that head injuries are the reason for their domestic abuse problems, it is a theory that is being bounced around critics of the sport. Among other major sports such as basketball, baseball and hockey, there are nowhere near as many athletes getting in trouble for violence related crimes.
Any definite coincidence between these two problems are yet to be established, but many believe that it is an issue worthy of investigation that would lead to either improved safety precautions or the steady downfall of the sport as a whole which is already seeing a drop in the number of kids and young men getting involved in the sport at a young age.