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Do Head Injuries Make Football Too Dangerous?

By: Brian Giaretta

Chicago- After an electrifying hit on the football field, it is very common to experience a slight headache or even a mild case of dizziness on the field.  Sometimes these symptoms are insignificant, but occasionally they are very real signs of severe head trauma.  The issue is not if this happens, but instead if children should be subject to this type of risk.

According to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, of 17,549 football players surveyed, 888 (5.1%) sustained at least one concussion, and 131 (14.7% of the 888) sustained a second injury during the same season of football.

The numbers from this survey are alarming, and recently reporters took to the streets of Chicago to hear what people thought about letting adolescent kids play football.

Mother of two, Brittany Harris, 45, from Frankfort said, “Children are fragile.  Now that we know the dangers associated with football, it might be a good idea for parents to encourage sports with less contact.  There are plenty of organized sports out there that are not so dangerous.  I would say no to football.”

Jean Monachio, 50, from Madison, Wisconsin agreed saying, “Knowing what we know today, how do parents let their little children go out and play football?  That is like sending your kids into a car when you know it’s going to be in an accident.  We know it’s dangerous and people still allow their kids to participate.  I just don’t understand it.  It seems unnecessary to me.”

Football can be dangerous, but organizations are trying to make the field a safer place.  According to the American Academy of Neurology, efforts have begun to pass federal legislation requiring national guidelines to decrease school sports-related concussions.

Even without such legislation, some people think that football is fine just the way it is.

“I think that kids should have the opportunity to participate in any sport that they want to.  Team activities are good for children’s development, and as long as they are taking all of the necessary precautions they will be fine,” said Cameron White, 34, from Sacramento, and father to one son.

Another father connects the dangers in sports to those of people’s everyday lives. He also thinks that there should be a measuring tool used by parents to decide if their children are fit for contact sports.

“I think that they should be able to play.  I know that there has been a lot of media attention on head injuries lately, but shit, nowadays walking down the street is dangerous too.  I do think that parents need to gauge their children and recognize if they are not cut out for the sport,” said Justin Lake, 27, from Chicago, Illinois.

One tourist took a more personal approach when talking to reporters.  While reminiscing of his own childhood, James Rodriguez, 31, from Dallas, Texas said, “I played football my entire childhood and high school career.  I made some of my best friends on the football field.  I will let my son play when he gets a little bit older.”

Maybe there is not one right answer to this very controversial question.  Whether you would let you children play football or not, the fact still remains that head injuries on the football field are all too common today.  The game of football is taking a hard look at this problem, and maybe with a little bit of time, the sport that America has grown to love may be a safe game for children to play and enjoy.

  • written by bgiaretta on November 27th, 2012
  • posted in Edit
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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.