The Damage of the Game

stadium american

By: Dominique Croons

Copy Edited By: Lizbeth Yorio, Anna Salomon Pasapera

Research Edited By: Jared Bernhardt

A dangerous game

The nation’s favorite football game has now come with a price.  Along with the victory of scoring a touchdown or winning the Super bowl, there is a tragic end. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, CTE, is a disease that is commonly found in former or current football players.  CTE is the result from multiple concussions or blows to the head. According to Protect the Brain.Org, CTE is described as “a progressive degenerative disease which afflicts the brain of people who have suffered repeated concussions and traumatic brain injuries, such as athletes who take part in contact sports, members of the military, and others.” More than 30 football players have been diagnosed with this disease. Even though new rules and regulations have been put in place for the NFL, these new precautions cannot stop this drastic and life changing disease from occurring overtime.

For the love of the game

Although new information has been researched about CTE and new rules and regulations have been put in place, there is still an opposing side to this: the players.  According to the USA Today article ‘some NFL players still willing to hide concussions’ by Howard Fendrich many of the football players refuse to tell the coach or physical trainer that they have a concussion.  They shake it off and continue to play even though there is a dangerous and fatal outcome.  Maurice Jones-Drew states in the article “Hide it”, when asked if he would play with a concussion or decide to sit out.  He continues his response stating that “You have to be able to put food on the table. No one’s going to sign or want a guy who can’t stay healthy. I know there will be a day when I’m going to have trouble walking. I realize that”.  Like Maurice, many other football players agree that this is what they signed up for and they know the benefits and effects of the game.

The innocent ones

The people that are most affected by this critical and life threatening disease is the innocent ones: the families.   Most of these families are collateral damage when it comes to football players diagnosed with CTE.   Most of these football players are deceased mostly because of suicide.  According to an article in Buffalo News called ‘NFL players, families are coming to grips of the dangers of repeat concussions’ written by Jerry Sullivan, many players are worried about the surrounding people that are being affected by this.  The article states “So deep down, even while laughing off the possibilities, the current players worry.  They worry about their families”.  Most of these football players, some who are first time fathers, are afraid that this game will take so much out of them that they won’t be able to play with their kids after the game or career is over.   Fred Jackson a running back for the New England Patriots state in the article “My wife is the one who really, really worries about it. But it’s the game I love to play, and I’m trying to do everything I can to make sure that isn’t me”.  Although some players take precaution when it comes to concussions, their families still worry deeply about what can possibly happen.

A college student opinion

As Brian Westbrook’s, a former NFL Eagles running back, little cousin, hearing news like this is very effecting.  Of course I heard many times “the love of the game” or “football isn’t what I do, it’s who I am”. I soon realized that football players do know about the information; they just don’t care about it.  Although an unhealthy player is very crucial in any professional sport, the greater outcome of this disease is more serious than a game.  Football players need to be mature and responsible and own up to their concussions so that they can get better not only for themselves but for the people around them.  I also think that there should be more rules and regulations about concussions in the NFL because it has become a serious problem. Players need to understand there is a life after football.

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