Beyond the Touchdown

Despite the expensive padding and durable helmets, football players are becoming more frequently concussed and injured each year. In both major and minor league football teams, players are getting battered and bruised while playing this popular American pastime.

According to The New York Timesarticle, “Dying to Play,” Devon Walker, a Tulane University safety football player,  experienced an injury that is common among football players. Walker collided with a player while making a tackle, resulting in a broken neck and paralysis. Just three days before Devon Taylor became paralyzed in New Orleans, the NFL asserted that they would donate $30 million to the National Institutes of Health to support research on concussions, brain injuries and medical conditions that are pertinent to athletes.

The New York Giants prepare for their football game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The athletic trainer is talking to quarterback Eli Manning. (Courtesy of Maddie Caponiti '15 of the King Street Chronicle)

The New York Giants prepare for their football game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The athletic trainer is talking to quarterback Eli Manning. (Courtesy of Maddie Caponiti ’15 of the King Street Chronicle)

The New York Times article, “Would I let my son play football?” reports that high school players can also be involved in fatal games. Recently, a 16-year-old high school football player Damon Janes suffered a blow to the head during a game in Western New York. He lost consciousness after a helmet-to-helmet hit. He died on September 16, 2013. Janes was a running back for the Westfield/Brocton varsity football team.

“It is so sad that so many players that are my age and in high school are permanently  injured from playing a sport I love so much,” Rye High School varsity football player Chase Pratt said.

This incident serves as an urgent reminder that football is a dangerous sport with serious consequences. Head injuries have taken a serious toll on the health and well-being of players. Because of the growing number of serious injuries, the NFL has begun to get involved in the funding of the research to benefit victims of these incidences.

“As a league we have made sure that all the boys know how to properly tackle, by learning this proper positioning when they are younger it will protect against injury when they get older ,” Rye Town Youth Football League coach Joe Messina said.

The New York Times article, “Dying to Play”, also reports that a neurological study was conducted and multiple players from the NFL were examined. The results of brain function and activity of 3,439 retired pro football players was taken and analyzed. The study concluded that veteran NFL players are more than half as likely than the common person to experience brain diseases like  Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease. These diseases can appear while the player is  involved in the sport or years after.  The diseases are consequences of brain pressure and trauma due to many years of rough contact while playing football.

According to The New York Times article “Increased Risks for N.F.L. Players”,an inconsistent  number of men who played football for at least five seasons in the NFL from 1959 to 1988 developed Alzheimer’s or Lou Gehrig’s disease as a result of playing football, as stated in a study taken September 2012.

The study was performed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to this article, “Increased Risks for N.F.L. Players,” 334 player deaths prior to 2008 were believed to have Alzheimer or Lou Gehrig’s disease related symptoms.

“The NFL has really tried to regulate head-to-head contact to keep their players safe. They have enforced the concept that using your head as a weapon for a tackle in this violent game will lead to injury,” Rye Town Youth Football League coach Joe Messina said.

— Maddie Caponiti, Staff Writer at the King Street Chronicle

Posted by on November 13, 2013. Filed under FSPA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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