Permissible Risks? Doctors and Young People Play Football
- Pages: 6
- Word count: 1472
- Category: Concussion
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Nothing is more American than Friday night football. Two teams battling it out for their county and schools. Even with all the fun that is in this sport, it can be very dangerous to these young men and woman’s health. Every year you hear about someone getting badly injured on the football field. This problem is making many organizations want to ban high school football altogether. What these people don’t see is that the fix for this is the heads-up tackling system. State governments need to pass a law a law requiring the teaching and implementing of “heads up” football to continue to allow leaders to safely be created, safely tackle people, and to protect themselves legally.
In Kathleen E Bachynski’s article “Tolerable Risks? Physicians and Youth Tackle Football” Bachynski states that the committees overseeing youth football have not done enough to reduce the risks in youth football. After reading more of the articles by this author it is clear that she takes a very medical stance on football. To her and many people, she cannot understand why these parents and young people would want to play football when it clearly puts them in danger. The fight against football has raged on since 1879 when Richard Von Gammon a Georgia Bulldogs football player was killed on the field after landing awkwardly on his neck. While all these injuries are sad and tragic the banning of football would hurt more than help. It is proven that people who play sports do better in life. Football especially teaches these young men leadership as well as how to communicate as a team. While injuries in football will most likely never go away completely the way we train these men can change. By using heads-up tackling the amount of head trauma in football can be reduced. This will help show all the people fighting football that it can be safer and may help some of them look past the “evils” of the sport and see the benefits it has in our culture.
When a player goes in for a tackle the proper form is to drop your weigh, buzz your feet, and tackle the ball carrier with your shoulder. Heads up tackling is exactly that, a safe way to bring down your opponent without hurting them or yourself. Sadly, in many high schools, this is not taught at all. When high schools don’t take these precautions to keep their players safe and not only can cost them penalties but it can also cost players, usually in the form of concussions. With the injuries to the head and neck being the number one reason for people speaking out against high school football it is clear that something needs to be done to stop the injuries. By taking the head and neck completely out of a tackle it will allow football to become much safer. Some schools have started putting a player safety coach in their lineup. The PSC is responsibility is to ensure other coaches are adhering to proper safety protocols, including instructing proper tackling and blocking techniques and ensuring proper equipment fitting. Proper equipment sitting is also something that can drastically cut down on the number of concussions in high school football and in Little League football. Little League football is sometimes even more dangerous than high school because of the lack a proper fitting equipment, and the small budget at local Parks and Rex department gives teens to purchase equipment. According to American Journal of sports medicine, there are “7.23 direct high school and college catastrophic head injuries in scholastic football participants per year” (40) while this doesn’t sound like much this is just the fatal ones. Concussions and other head and neck injuries can have a lifelong effects football player and can severely affect some people’s ability to play at higher levels of football. The start to fixing this is with the government.
The people opposing this change would say reteaching the game of football would be too hard to do, but when it comes to teaching this form of tackling their many sources available. USA football is spearheading this movement to make tackling effective and safer. From their seminars for coaches Two there’re multiple online resources there is no excuse for a coach to be uneducated on the ways that can help their football player. Pop Warner football is one of the most popular activities for you around America. There are approximately 3.5 million youth football players, representing nearly 70% of all organized football. The players in this organization may be smaller and slower than other organizations such as high school, college, and professional football but the number of head injuries in this league is still surprisingly high. One group folder around a particular pop Warner team and recorded the velocity that These players were hitting or being hit in the head. Dr. Wong talks about this in the “Frequency, magnitude, and distribution of head impacts in Pop Warner football”, “We have a better understanding for the potential metabolic and ultrastructural consequences of single impact head injury, and are gaining a greater appreciation that repetitive concussive and sub-concussive blows may be important and deleterious in certain individuals” (Wong 3).
Upon looking at the results and data they had recovered the amount of the head injuries was much higher than what was expected. Again, while the speed of these players is not as fast as that of other leagues the head injuries are still occurring. With USA football’s heads-up tackling program these numbers can be brought down significantly. Also, by teaching these young players the importance of keeping their head out of the tackle it will help them when they move up to the next level.
When USA football started looking into how safe football really is around the nation they started keeping track of the games and practices of some football teams to see how much head trauma is being caused by these practices and games. In Barry P. Boden’s article Catastrophic head injuries in high school and college football players, he talks about how for 13 years a center collected data on head injuries in football. The data showed that out of the 13,675,832 high school and 975,000 college football players there was an average of 8 deaths per season from football due to head injuries and an average of 3 head injuries per game (Boden 1075). While this may not sound all that bad many of these injuries can be prevented by using better tackling techniques.
Mississippi leads the charge of putting in place concussion laws and all states have flowed that. The law states that “Most of the state laws contain three common tenets: 1) any athlete suspected of having sustained a concussion must immediately be removed from play; 2) the athlete may not be returned to action the same day; and 3) the athlete may be returned to action only after written clearance is provided by a licensed health-care professional (the definition of which varies widely from state-to-state)”(NFHS). While this law does protect players after a concussion still no law is in place trying to stop them all together. The only thing close to a law to protect players is that of some states who require a preseason concussion baseline test and make the players sign a concussion awareness paper. All of this just goes to show that the focus of the schools and the laws in place is truly just a way to get around the big problem at hand, what is needed is a permanent fix to the ever-growing issue. For years injured student-athletes have been bringing lawsuits against schools for injuries they have gotten on the athletic field. By using heads-up tackling many school districts could be protected from this happening to them. Football is the leading cause of sports injuries in high school and the leading sport bringing on these lawsuits. While obviously some sports cannot be protected by changing play style this would greatly reduce the number of football injuries.
In conclusion the state government needs to use all of this information to educated themselves and the voters on this new law that needs to be passed. With the help of football coaches, athletic directors, and state officials the implementation of this law would greatly benefit the young men and woman who love the game of football. With a simple law to at least attempt to stop the problem before it is started we could see drastic differences in not only the safety and playing of the game but also the public opinion of football. With the backing and support of enough people passing this law to protect young people and still allow them to be active and have fun is not out of reach.