Should the NFL Still Exist?

Posted by Talal Albagdadi on

Should the NFL still existI live in San Diego and years ago when the Chargers were still playing at Jack Murphy Stadium, I loved watching Junior Seau play on Sundays. He was a local hero beloved by all. Junior did a lot of local charity work and was so popular in the community he opened a restaurant a few miles from Jack Murphy Stadium in Mission Valley aptly named Seau’s of San Diego. In 2012 at the age of 43 he shot himself in the chest with a revolver so that doctors could examine his brain for signs of trauma.

Things have changed so much since that day. Jack Murphy Stadium doesn’t exist, Seau’s of San Diego closed, and the NFL has been forced to acknowledge the existence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. Between 2011 and 2012 six NFL players committed suicide including Jovan Belcher, Dave Duerson, Ray Easterling, Junior Seau, Kurt Crain and OJ Murdock. Autopsies revealed that many of these players had traumatic brain injuries. They were all suffering and chose to end their lives. There’s little doubt that years of violent collisions in college and the NFL had done significant damage to their brains.

Both the NFL and college football have implemented numerous rule changes, updated their helmet design, and created more restrictive concussion protocols all with the goal of reducing brain injuries. Has it made a difference? Is there any realistic way to prevent injuries when two players collide at full speed? It is estimated that some NFL collisions are 100 times the force of gravity and equal getting hit 1,700 lbs. of force. Better pads and helmets help but football may be fighting a losing battle as fewer parents are allowing their children to play football. Participation in youth football between the ages of 6 and 12 has dropped by over 30% since 2008. High school football accounts for four times as many head injuries as the next closest sport which is soccer. There are 1 million fewer high school football players than there were 10 years ago. Parents are making a conscious decision to protect their children from harm.

should kids play football

Despite all the head injuries we still can’t seem to get enough of Monday Night Football. The NFL continues to be the most popular professional sport in the USA with a larger following that the NBA, MLB, and the NHL. Should we care about the health of professional athletes? The research clearly states that American football is dangerous for all those who play it. Players make an informed decision and know the possible consequences of playing in the NFL. If a brutal sport like MMA is legal why should the NFL be a problem? People die in NASCAR races every year. NASCAR drivers also know the consequences when they get behind the wheel.  

The answer lies in what we are willing to tolerate from our sports entertainment. If you care about concussions and the well-being of athletes don’t watch college or NFL football. Players will get injured; players will break bones and they will continue to suffer repeated head trauma in the NFL and college football. It’s up to American sports fans to decide what they are willing to tolerate from their favorite sport. The NFL will continue to exist as long as we are willing to watch it. Fans will have to let their morality decide whether the NFL will keep prospering from their dollars.

violence in the nfl should we tolerate it

 

References for “Should the NFL Still Exist?”:
“Why Do We Still Play Football” – CHS GLOBE
“Jordan Belcher” – NY Daily News
“Optimum Performance: The physics of collisions in the NFL” – NOLA.COM
“The Decline of Football” – FORBES
All Images Sourced from PixaBay - PixaBay


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