Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Problem with Football: How the Pursuit of Rugged Masculinity Kills American Men

How could this sport not be insanely dangerous? (image source)

This guest post from Carl The Open-minded Chauvinist was originally published on I Feel Like Schrodinger's Cat, under the title "Why Marcus Will Not Play Football." Though Carl does not openly discuss the feminist implications of football, his post is a great discussion of one area of American entertainment where the pursuit of rugged masculinity literally kills, injures, and handicaps men. 

Words really cannot express how much I dislike sports. Really. If you didn't get the memo already.

But I have to say, when I read this article, I couldn't help but giggle.

See, apparently it's take this long for the NFL to realize that getting hit in the head, repeatedly, is not good for you. The most recent suicide, Junior Seau, is having his brain donated to science to see if he's got this new CTE diagnosis.

There was one study released last year, that showed that the average football player has encountered 4000 hits in high school, 4000 more hits in college.

Is it no wonder that NFL players have a life expectancy of 54 years, or that they are more likely to suffer from depression, mood swings, and other indications of brain damage. Apparently helmets are designed to prevent skulls from cracking open, which I'm all in favor of, but too many people assume that because there's all this protective gear on that the players will be fine.

I'm sorry. Are you an idiot?

You're still smashing your brain against the side of your skull. Repeatedly. After all, "Getting hit--hard--is not a small part of the game. It is the game."

And that ain't good for you.

Especially if you're in high school.

Sports should be fun, not fatal. I will not ethically support anymore "a sport that--if executed to its fullest--wipes out the wits of its players."

And any future son of mine isn't going to play football. I've linked a lot of articles, but if you're going to read just one, READ THIS ONE. Chilling. But it may be what finally kills American Football, drying up the source of football players, since it may be worth the risk of brain damage to play in the NFL, but not to play high school football. I can only pray that football goes the way of the dodo. But any future sons I have won't ever play football, even if the sport doesn't vanish. I'm not willing to let them destroy their brains just for some glory in high school.

Edit: After I posted this to Facebook, a friend of mine showed me this article from The New Yorker. It's clear to me that football causes hundreds of these mini-car crashes to the skull, and that getting out of football intact is more a matter of luck than anything else. Not for my kids.

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