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If you’re a football fan, parent, or coach, then you must consider watching Frontline’s documentary ‘League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.’ In a nutshell, the film suggest sports related head trauma probably causes a brain ailment known as Chronic traumatic encephalothy or CTE. Most of the research discussed in the film is geared towards professional athletes in the NFL, but a couple of younger football players also have shown signs of the degenerative disease. All fans with an interest in the sport should see the film, educate themselves, and consider the implications football is having on athletes.
The film outlines the NFL’s, specifically commissioner Roger Goodell’s, continued assurance to players and the public that football was safe to play without risk of long term mental health effects, regardless that the science was suggesting otherwise. Perhaps, worst of all the league failed to represent the truth to parents about the safety of their sport for football players at all ages. Many parents surely will be left with questions about the safety of the sport and it’s long term impacts before signing their kids up for the next season, or even allowing them to continue playing now. Without youngster playing the game, ultimately the game dies.
Even though the film paints a bleak picture of the risk involved with participating in football, the question remains whether or not people will care enough to take the steps to do something about it? Will it require a complete shut down of the game? Perhaps not, but at least significant rule changes that allow for safer play must be, and likely will be considered. What could change? No more tackling to the ground, or maybe an extinction of the kicking game? The game surely will morph into something unrecognizable to that of today’s game and we’ll look back and be amazed at the things we used to allow on the gridiron.
Surely after having watched the film or at least heard about it’s content, you’ll come away with a new perspective on the sport of football. Some predict it’s failure to come in the near future, but more likely it won’t come at all. Any business like the NFL raking in upwards of $9 billion dollars a year will have a tough time dying. Without actual deaths taking place on the field, it’s unlikely society will every accept the responsibility for players that pass later on in life when they’re no longer in the public spotlight. Our culture has to much of an out-0f-sight, out-of-mind mentality for that to occur.
Do I let my eight year old son play football. No, at least not yet I haven’t.