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Is Football a Dying Sport?

February 2, 2014
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Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 7.56.52 PM“…“I’m a big football fan,” President Obama told the New Republic in an interview, “but I have to tell you, if I had a son I’d have to think long and hard before I’d let him play football.” Obama, who roots for the Chicago Bears, predicted that “those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence.”…”

It should be noted that I don’t like football. In fact, I loath it.  I think it is brutal, deplorable game popular, primarily, because people are told that they are to watch it.  I don’t get the Super Bowl hype.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  It’s not about football, but about gambling and the party.  The World Series is a celebration of baseball.  Unfortunately, I don’t know much about football that is worth celebrating, from the chronic head injuries, cover-up of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia because of head injuries, or the fact that the woman who are ‘cheerleaders’ are paid well under five bucks an hour and are basically treated like indentured servants.

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 7.59.17 PMRush Limbaugh may well have a reason to hate Barack Obama.  It is entirely possible that Obama, the other day, became the first person of importance to state that if he had a son, he would not be allowed to play football.  That is the beginning of the end.  Wives of former players are now banding together, to try go get the NFL to pay for the brain damage their husbands have sustained.  There is now an argument about helmets, which will prevent brain injuries.

“...Concern about brain injuries in football has grown rapidly over the past decade, after evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease that causes dementia and depression, was found in several former pro players, including some who committed suicide. The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University later found the disease in 34 of 35 former NFL players examined.

So far, most of the research and discussion has centered specifically on concussions, which are relatively easy to identify and diagnose. The CDC has reported that 47 percent of high school football players suffer a concussion over the course of a season. A concussed person is at greater risk of long-term brain damage, and every additional concussion increases that risk. The NFL has introduced rule changes to make the game marginally less brutal. It is also now standard procedure to bench concussed players until they are symptom-free.

The Cleveland study released today shows that even players who don’t sustain concussions may be at risk, and it focuses new attention on college football. That in turn suggests that the risks may be far more widespread than previously acknowledged: Around 20,000 men play at the highest levels of college football, compared with the 1,700 players in the NFL….”

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 7.58.10 PMThis is the beginning of the end.  It would shock me if, fifty years from now, the game of football, as we know it today, will even exist.  There’s a good reason for this.  When parents finally realize there is a correlation to brain injuries and football, fewer little kids will be playing little league football.  One of these days it will be banned in high schools.  If I were in a position of power within a university system, I would start lobbying to have it removed, as a sport.

“...Beyond the present litigation, the NFL faces a more ominous longer-term question. New research suggests the peril players face may not be limited to car wreck hits. It may extend to the relentless, day-in-and-day-out collisions that are the essence of the game. If science one day determines that merely playing serious tackle football substantially increases the danger of debilitating brain disease—as smoking cigarettes makes lung cancer much more likely—it’s conceivable that the NFL could go the way of professional boxing….”

I don’t quite get how people can claim to sit there, and watch a sport, knowing that there is a tremendous capacity for injury that will effect so many people.  Sure, there are other sports where there are injuries and even death, but no on the par with football.  There are tragedies in baseball, but they are few and far between.  The same is true with basketball.  Boxing can be lethal, but it’s a one on one thing.  A few changes in the rules, and the sport can easily continue.  Almost every year, we hear of some prominent young life being ruined, because he was playing a sport.

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Maybe I just find the whole Super Bowl process repulsive.  Thankfully, in about 10 days or so, pitchers and catchers report, and we can forget about the brutality of a game that destroys men’s brains.

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