Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Is Football A Barbaric Sport?

Let me preface this post by saying that I enjoy football as much as any red-blooded American, and always have.

But these days, I have a feeling that within 100-200 years, humanity will view American football with the same disdain we have today for the gladiatorial contests of Rome.

We are increasingly seeing the sheer brutality of football, in the form of serious brain damage done to a large majority of players.  Not just professional players, either.  A recent study [] found that 79 percent of ALL football players (and 96 percent of pros) had evidence of CTE--chronic traumatic encephalopathy--which is a brain disease.

Before the recent revelations about the problems with concussions and CTE in football players, all we, the fans, could really see is the more typical daily carnage of a football field--torn ligaments and muscles and the occasional more serious injury requiring a player to be carted off the field.  We could live with this.

But can we--should we--live with a sport that practically guarantees its participants will suffer debilitating brain injuries?  It certainly makes me uncomfortable, and I think if we could visualize it happening during the games, we wouldn't let it continue to happen.

We can't continue to ignore the issue.  I doubt that a technological solution--better helmets, etc. is going to emerge.  Nor is it likely that rule changes can be effected that will maintain the integrity of the game while providing effective protection to its participants.

(This same issue may be lurking for another sport--futbol, or soccer--but the evidence so far is inconclusive),

There is big, big, big money on football, especially professional and college ball, so it will take awhile to work through to the conclusion that football is too dangerous to be viable.  I, for one, however, am becoming increasingly queasy every time I tune in to watch my favorite teams, literally, butt heads.

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