Source: John Torcasio / Pixabay
It’s hard to deny that soccer is America’s favorite sport, but for how much longer? Paying attention to the warnings of the dangers confirmed in many studies over the past few months, parents are increasingly keeping their children away from the football field and high schools are struggling to fill their rosters.
For decades, New Jersey high schools have been sending their players to the best of college football and the NFL. It changes. A New Jersey high school coach told the New York Times that he lost a game because he didn’t have enough players on his squad. For Metuchen (NJ) High School, this marked a first in the nine-decade history of their football program. According to the school principal, “a few years ago the football team had 55 members.” Recently the roster dropped to 17.
After reading the Times article, one person said, “Hopefully it will become a niche sport for the next generation of children. It could survive with a drastic change in rules regarding contact. With the exception of boxing, I can’t think of any other sport that is all about beating your own brain. “
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been against soccer all my adult life. Many consider my attitude to be seriously un-American. I carried my aversion to the sport and let it loose on my son when he was a kid – something I addressed on this blog years ago in a post titled “Why I Brainwashed My Son”. In it I explained why I was against my son who ever played football. Now, more and more parents appreciate the dangers and have serious concerns about its brutality, they too should.
Head injuries account for a large part of the reduced attendance
Current studies confirm the parents’ fears. The Radiological Society of North America studies brain changes in high school and youth gamers by equipping them with special sensors in their helmets to track changes. Their conclusion: “Our study found a significant decrease in gray matter clipping [essential for brain development, ‘pruning gets rid of the synapses that are no longer used, [so] The brain becomes more efficient with age ‘]in the frontal standard mode network, which is involved in higher cognitive functions such as planning and controlling social behavior. “
Another study, published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, examining players with no signs of concussion after just one season, observed significant microstructural changes in gray matter. “A single season of high school football can lead to microscopic changes in the structure of the brain, according to the study. A new type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed significant changes in the structure of the gray matter on the front and back of the brain, as well as changes in structures deep within the brain. “
A study in JAMA Ophthalmology didn’t look at effects like dizziness or confusion – both of which can be clear signs of a concussion – but looked at eyeball and eyelid movements that can result from “slight, repetitive football impacts.” Although more research is needed in this area as the players were able to see normal again in the fourth quarter of the season, their results and the long-term effects of brain injury on vision should be of concern to parents.
Has football finally seen its decline?
Despite the evidence, new rules, and better equipment to prevent head injuries and concussions, many still see football as a ticket to a college scholarship and a chance to play in the NFL at some point. Anyone who’s applied for an athletic scholarship to college knows the chances are slim.
It is true that a lot has changed to make the game supposedly more secure. However, balancing better helmets, lessening the impact of young players during training, and developing new rules to protect against injury and concussions is the fact that players from high school to the pros weigh more than they did decades ago. The extra weight and weight behind a given piece of equipment makes the impact force so much greater when a player’s head hits the ground.
The sport is dangerous and parents who keep their sons off the field are looking for medical evidence and shrinking the talent pool. Given the pool of potential professionals who have emerged from former feeder high schools, one must wonder what is next in the sport of football.
In an article on labor bargaining between wealthy owners and gamblers, journalist Devin Gordon asks the same thing: “… against the backdrop of a sport with so much violence built in that parents and school districts are increasingly banning their children from playing [football], a trend line that could theoretically kill the sport. “
It must be repeated: the most damning comments (and support for my position) came from former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, who told CBS News that the key to change is when “the mothers of the world decided to say my little boy can not.” Play soccer “and Terry Bradshaw, former quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who told Jay Leno that if he had a boy he wouldn’t let him play soccer because” the fear of those head injuries is too great ” Staying careful football, I don’t have that bad feeling about influencing my son a lot.
Feel free to disagree (or agree) in the comments section.
Copyright @ 2019 by Susan Newman.