The Dangers of Football – Is it Worth It?

Dylan Vanek, Front and Backpage Editor

Around 1.1 million high school students every year chose to partake in American football, according to USA Today. Among all the sports available to high schoolers across the United States, football is one of the most popular sports in the country.

But football has been causing many brain problems among youth, leading to decreased performance in school and memory loss. Amid the severe brain injuries football players are experiencing, some people are asking themselves if football should be a sport offered in high schools anymore. I think that football should be removed as a high school sport across the country because of the high risk of brain injury and the effect it has on students’ academic performances.

A recent study conducted by the Journal of American Medical Association found that in “202 brains of deceased football players across all levels, nearly 88 percent of all the brains had chronic traumatic encephalopathy.”

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a degenerative brain disease known to be caused by repetitive brain trauma that many football players experience.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy causes several health issues such as memory loss, confusion and impaired judgement. All of these risks do not benefit high school students’ academic performance at all. Instead of providing a fun environment for students to become fit and participate in competition, football damages students’ brains.

Students do not have fully developed prefrontal cortexes until they are 25 years old magnifying the consequences of brain damage in the future. The dangers and perils of the sport are well documented using strong evidence and research conducted by several physicians, yet we continue to let students risk permanent brain damage by allowing them to play high school football.

Research done by Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that the average high school football player scored 220 points lower on the SATs than the average high school student.

Some people would argue that students need to play football in high school in order to get college scholarships, and pretty much all NFL players began playing in high school. However, there are 23 NCAA sports, and all of them offer potential scholarships to prospective high school applicants. Football is not the only option, and since there are other less harmful options, students should pursue those instead.

The considerable evidence that suggests high school football decreases students’ ability to perform in academic situations does not deter schools from offering it as a sport. Yet, I firmly believe that high school football is damaging students’ brains and should be removed from the list of sports offered at high schools.