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Friday, April 10, 2015

Why I won’t let my son play football.

The brain damage. The tortuous and scarring hazing. Being a privileged student athlete in college. These are the MAIN reason I won’t let my son play the sport of football. Call me overprotective but this America sport has created a culture within our young athletes that is both dangerous to their morals, priorities, and health. Think I’m being over dramatic?

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease, which can currently only be definitively diagnosed postmortem, in individuals with a history of multiple concussions and other forms of head injury. Paul Olivier, Andre Waters, and Jovan Blecher are just some of the names of former players that have shot themselves in the head due to brain injuries. Brain injuries caused by the excessive and undetectable disease, CTE. 

One of the causes of CTE would be the rigorous practices student athlete endure on a regular basis. Football players in the NCAA's Division I Bowl Subdivision spend an average of 44.8 hours a week on their sport — playing games, practicing, and training— compared with a little less than 40 hours on academics. Student athlete practice more than professional football players, which of course takes a toll on their grades.

Student athletes are being robbed of their educations because educator are letting them pass with subpar work. College educated student athletes that can’t read or write exist because the school system is designed in such a way that profiting off the football team is more important than said player’s. Student-athletes who can't read well, but play in the money-making collegiate sports of football and basketball, are not a new phenomenon. They are things called “bird classes’ that don’t really exist and their sole purpose is to inflate the GPA of the players. 

My apprehension isn’t reserved for college football. The hazing that occurs in some high schools is horrendous. In the last 10 years alone, there have been multiple reports on high school hazing in the football locker rooms across the country. Sayreville, Mepham and Hoover  are just a few that have been plagued by similar scandals. 

I apologize to my fictitious future son. You will not be lacing up boots or putting on helmets. There no pre-game chants or post-game glory. You will, instead, not be subjected to undetectable brain injuries all while having more time to study and be a kid. You will not suffer through any of that or have to worry about brutal high school hazing because you will NOT be playing football.

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