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In present times football has become one of America’s favorite sports among the country, however, during recent years it is being recognized how dangerous the game can be because of the injuries displayed in games. If many of these injuries cause serious harm to fully grown players, then there should not be any reason for allowing children to play this sport at its full capacity. Doing so could highly impact our society with negative effects in our youth.
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Although the popularity of youth collision sports has risen, the number of concussion rates and head collisions have increased exponentially as well. This is a major problem in today’s society because this can lead to many dangerous medical problems for the youth that play these sports. A solution was sought out by the National Operating Committee on Standards of Athletic Equipment when they “directed its first efforts by improving the football helmet” (“Reconditioning Football Helmets”). In doing so the NOCSAE would perform tests on all the football helmets that would meet the “NOCSAE standard” (“Reconditioning Football Helmets”). However, the helmets designed to protect the players’ head and neck area still could not prevent the rising numbers of rising youth concussions.
First, is that children’s head and neck areas are still developing, weak, and are much more prone to concussions. While their physical statures do not meet the needs to play football, the helmet might as well be useless. Also, recent studies showed that the new helmets do not protect the brain in hard head collisions. This is because in a case with a head collision the brain would still be taking damage internally from the impact. Finally, helmet technology to fully prevent concussions are still non-existent so the helmets would not be as reliable. Article writer Chris Gorski explained that in a conducted study where high school helmets were tested found that ” No indication that the brand or age of modern helmets was related to protection against concussion” (Par 5). This case then forces the players to fully rely on safer techniques to tackle, and proves that helmets do very little or no protection against concussions.
The state and federal government should coordinate the restriction of tackle football of the high school level and up to prevent the increasing numbers of youth concussions.
By restricting tackle football for children, it prevents the early development of mental diseases. When a player receives a concussion, it can open a gateway of many mental problems and diseases such as CTE, Alzheimer’s syndrome, Second Impact syndrome, etc. Due to these very dangerous diseases it has impacted the youth and many older football players in negative ways. Article writer Andrew J. Kane explained how concussions can negatively affect the players with other mental diseases and effects. Brain ” Cells are able to recover after a concussion”, but are prone to more vulnerable hits and may lead to Second Impact syndrome which can “Result in major neurological deficits, coma, or death” (Par 14). While this can be a very serious problem it can be prevented by restricting it to our youth.
Also, with the restriction of football towards the youth it allows the parents to teach their children the basics of the game. When it comes to dangerous sports for the youth, typically the parents stay concerned over their children, and some even try to find ways to help their kids to stay safe. In doing so it can enormously prevent the rising number of concussions because if the children learn the risks and rules of the game, then they can use that mentality to stay safe whenever they are old enough to play football. This method can ultimately be a key part to making this collision sport safe for children.
Another key reason to restrict football to the youth is that they can have the opportunity to grow and have a stronger, physical statures. The game of football is so physically demanding because to play this sport it requires that one must have the strength, muscle mass, and ultimately bigger bodies to withstand hard hits that may come consistently when playing the game. By allowing children’s bodies to grow, they can also have their brains fully develop and that helps them improve their thinking skills, and makes their thoughts process faster which can also make the game safer.
Many opponents however, still believe that the benefits of football outweigh its risks for the youth. Critics such as Robert Glatter say that by not allowing children to play tackle football it deprives the chance for them to gain risk taking characteristics. By eliminating tackle football to kids is ” that it is not entirely clear that the elimination of risk-taking behaviors from childhood is in the best interest of our society” (Par 8). While that is true, there are many other sports and activities that can provide risk taking challenges for children, which can prove to be as useful as football, and safer.
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Opponents also say that there is no real proof that concussions can lead to long term health effects. Robert Glatter explains that there is not “Substantive scientific evidence indicating that sub-concussive or even concussive impacts in youth have delirious long-term health effects” (Par 10). On the contrary, new recent studies on professional and youth players have obtained information and found many long-term effects such as diagnoses of CTE, Second Impact syndrome, Dementia, and even early symptoms of Alzheimer’s in young and older football players. Thus, making the case of concussions very serious.
While there may be concussions rising, action can still be taken to prevent this. The government should take political action and enforce rules to restrict football to children. By making those rules, they can be applied to schools and from there more alternatives can be suggested such as less dangerous sports. Also, the schools should inform parents about the high risks and dangers of football. If many parents learn and understand the risks of this sport, then they can teach and explain to their children the dangers of football. Finally, Sports programs in schools should have a non-collision version of football. This can serve as a great alternative to playing full contact football. It teaches children how to play the game safely, and helps them learn about better techniques on tackling.
Despite the benefits of football, government action must be taken to prevent the escalating numbers of youth concussions by enforcing rules to restrict tackle football, informing parents about the risks, and teaching safer ways of the game by using a safer version of the game to ultimately make the game safer for everyone.
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