The Streak

High School Football: Not Worth the Hits?

By: Alex Schwalb

Managing Editor


America’s most popular sport has been endangering the well-being and health of young student athletes. The dangers of the sport that so many love just isn’t worth the possible life-changing consequences that come with it.

High school football is a sacred tradition that many hold close to their hearts, but the way the game is played is simply too dangerous for student athletes to continue competing on the gridiron.

High-tech equipment can greatly reduce the risk of serious head trauma in players. Two of the top concussion-reducing helmets are the Riddell SpeedFlex and the Vicis ZERO1.

Unfortunately, the prices for the helmets are astronomical despite the benefits. Just one Riddell SpeedFlex helmet can cost anywhere from $400 to $500 and the Vicis ZERO1 is currently at a pre-order price of $1,500. That means to provide every player on the football team with a high-grade helmet could cost anywhere from $51,300 to $171,000.

The expenses that would go to improve football equipment would have to come from cuts to other extra-curricular activities and sports. Other student-athletes would not be pleased if they couldn’t play their respective sports so that football players could have better equipment to prevent injury.

The injury risk that football players run does not just apply to their current lives, but can affect their whole lives. CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), Alzheimer’s and dementia are a few examples of conditions that can follow after playing the sport competitively.

CTE is the most dangerous of these three diseases as it can lead to depression, impulse control problems, memory loss and eventually dementia, but the truly horrifying feature of CTE is the suicidal tendencies that players develop over time.

Former Los Angeles Chargers Linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide in 2012 at the age of 43, just three years after his retirement. CTE quickly destroyed Seau’s brain and the football world experienced a heart-wrenching loss of a beloved figure.

Another example of a CTE victim is Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez, a former star for the New England Patriots, was sentenced to serve life imprisonment for murder charges from 2013. Hernandez was found dead in his cell on April 19, 2017 when he committed suicide.

A scan of Hernandez’s brain showed he was suffering from severe CTE. Researchers who conducted the scan, according to the New York Times, said that Hernandez had “the most severe case they had ever seen in someone of Aaron’s age.”

Two beloved figures of football with amazing careers were out of the NFL and dead within five years of retirement. If NFL players who are conditioned to play with low risk of injury don’t maintain good health once they hang up their cleats, then it is not worth it for high school student-athletes to continue playing football.

The lifelong effects of repeated head trauma in football greatly outweigh anything gained by playing the sport. It is a sad truth that we must admit about our cherished sport.

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High School Football: Not Worth the Hits?