Is it Game Over for High School Football?

“No high school that is committed to be a house of learning for our community of learners can continue to preside over a sport that carries an undue risk of damaging brain power.”  So claims retired Williamstown, physician/epidemiologist Nick Wright.

Boston University researchers have discovered a concrete link proving the risk of degenerative brain disease increases with the number of years someone plays football. The researchers based their findings on examinations of the brains of 66 professional and collegiate football players and 16 non-athletes.

A recent study by the NeuroTrauma Research Lab at University of Michigan proposed a moderate solution: limiting the number of full-contact practices. The National Federation of State High School Associations similarly recommends “limiting helmet-to-helmet contact and blows to the head with the shoulder, forearm and hand” and the dissemination of information concerning concussion risk factors.

Schools are now concussion monitoring all practices in compliance with the state concussion laws. Are we on the clock? Should we get rid of football as we know it as an inappropriate sport for the bodies of our teenagers?

I admit it. I love football. However, I didn’t let my boy’s play- Because they were tall and skinny not the ideal football physique. But the life lessons taught by the dedicated football coaches are sometimes more important than what is taught in the classroom.  Football Coaches teach that what they sacrifice today they gain tomorrow. The hardships, the practices, and the friendships earned determine what kind of person they become after the game is over. A football coach teaches self-respect, control, and hard work. A football coach expects every athlete to give their all and never quit, because once you quit, it’s easy to do it a second time.  These are some of the life lessons student athletes learn from there football coach and through sports that are applied to a meaningful and productive life.

Paul Dobbs

November 22, 2016