SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

The Surfacing Problem in Football

This story is one example of it.

Collisions are a serious matter. Pro football players get paid to collide. The rest of the world who plays football collides -- for fun, for glory, for scholarships, for a chance to play for money.

And those collisions take their toll.

Some pro football players started playing tackle football at the ages of 6 and 7. That's a lot of pounding by the time they hit 30.

Ever meet guys who used to play football and played a lot of it? How well do they move? How well do they speak? Do they seem okay to you?

Many do, but a disproportionate number of them do not. After all, the average school teacher, bus driver, civil servant, policeman, carpenter and plumber don't suffer the number of concussions that pro football players do. And, in this regard, the recent suicide of former Philadelphia Eagle Andre Waters is very disturbing.

Why?

Because Andre Waters, at age 44, had brain damage. Read the prior link and read all about it. Our national pastime (sorry, baseball fans) did it to him. Oh, sure, he volunteered to play the game, but he paid an awful price.

We glorify football players, we watch this game more than any other, tickets are impossible to get, and all of that. So lots of athletic young men play this game, some because they love (and believe they need) the contact. Others play because they're good athletes and are expected to. Yet others play because they want the glory, and some play because they believe that they have to prove something to someone -- themselves, a parent or fellow student -- that they're tougher or simply that they're not wimps. Whatever the reason, lots of kids play this game.

But is it wise to do so?

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