ChristianRonzoni, Staff Reporter
What do you think when you hear the word ‘Football’? Some may think Super Bowl Sundays, others think strong men and women fighting over pig skin, but what nobody thinks about is the huge permanent risks involved that the NFL tries to cover up. When a player is knocked out or severely hurt, the NFL will have that player pulled from that game to help prevent further concussion. Almost every football fan sees this as a successful way of preventing a serious concussion, but unfortunately those are only the concussions we know about. Over 80% of concussions haven’t been reported to this day.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma. “Brain trauma can cause a build-up of an abnormal type of a protein called tau, which slowly kills brain cells. Once started, these changes in the brain appear to continue to progress even after exposure to brain trauma has ended. Possible symptoms include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, paranoia, impulse control problems, aggression, depression and eventually progressive dementia. Symptoms can begin to appear months, years, or even decades after trauma has ended. Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed after death by brain tissue analysis,” said one of the leading concussion foundations Concussion Legacy Foundation. This epidemic doesn’t just affect the current NFL players but 96% of all former NFL players have been diagnosed with CTE.
For being one of the most “cautious” about concussions, the NFL simply isn’t taking this seriously. “In fact, the NFL has admitted that playing football is linked to CTE! When asked whether football was dangerous, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said ‘Hey there’s risk in life. There’s risk to sitting on the couch.'” It seems hard to ignore these horrifying facts but if you’re getting payed $34 million a year to maintain a status quo it’s not that hard.
Since almost 2/3 of players leave with permanent injuries, wouldn’t you think that the football players are being payed big bucks for this in their guaranteed contacts? Well think again. Not only is their NFL contract not guaranteed, but 78% of NFL players will be broke just two years after retiring.
With these events reaching the public eye, many of the Hall of Fame Football players have spoken out about their opinion on this. “If I had a 10-year-old boy, I don’t know that I’d be real inclined to encourage him to go play football, in light of what we are learning from head injury. I’m concerned right now overall with the long-term viability of our sport,” said Aikman, a former NFL player. “[This is] Adrian Jr. He won’t be playing football,” Peterson said. “If I had a son today, and I would say this to all our audience and our viewers out there, I would not let him play football,” said Brian McIntyre.
It’s important to take what these former players are saying to heart, but ultimately the decision is up to the parents to make when it involves putting their child into football or not. The brain damage done to pro NFL players is permanent, so just imagine if a child as young as 7 or 10 starts playing football. The smallest jolt done by a simple tackle causes a form of whiplash to the brain which is the start of CTE. Unless we do something about how football is played, the sport in a few years might be outlawed or forgotten forever.