It is a bittersweet day for me today. Yes....the Super Bowl is today and it will be fun to watch but it also signals the final day of the NFL season. (sigh) The NFL season is my favorite season.....followed closely by Fall.
There has been a lot of news lately about the dangers of playing football. The long term breakdown to the brain after years of concussions is not an old wives tale anymore. It is real and compelling evidence that as the sport gained in popularity the men who play it have grown as well. The players are bigger, stronger and healthier than those who played 20 years ago. Technology has grown with them with better helmets and body padding. It certainly can never be said that football is a gentleman's game. It is a physical game with a game impact that equals seven car accidents.
Can they make it safer while still allowing the players to tackle? I'm not sure. I certainly don't want to watch flag football on Sundays but I feel for the players and their families who have played the game for our entertainment.
However, we all know that these are not actors on the field. They are paid for what they do....and very nicely I might add. They know the risks and they may think that the doctors are going to act in their best interest. The dollar signs are hard to pass up. Many of these guys were raised in homes that were poorer than most and the expectation to be a success and support their families were great. Everyone knows that there is a lot of money to be made in professional sports if you have the talent to be on one of those teams. I have heard that only 1% of all college athletes will actually play in the NFL.
There are children that pretend to be star players every day in their backyards. They emulate what they see as they play in pony leagues around the nation. Recent developments in brain injuries will cause some parents to pull their sons from football. Others will be hesitant relying on future technology or human intervention to make it safer. Still others will encourage their sons to play despite the known risks perhaps ignoring what the future holds. It is the future after all.