In February, California state legislators Kevin McCarty and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher proposed a bill to ban the sport of football before high school, with the ban later being changed to 12 years old and under. The bill was pulled before California lawmakers could vote on it in April. Should youth or even high school football be banned due to rising safety concerns, or should the tradition of the game continue? Two Warrior writers debate the issue.
by Julia Robins ‘20
Football should be banned in schools because adolescents are at a significantly higher risk for life-threatening injuries. American football is the sport associated with the greatest number of traumatic brain injuries. For teenagers, every hit is detrimental compared to an adults because the brain of a teen is still developing and changing every day.
Kids are at a disproportionate risk to trauma due to head injuries. The brain is not yet fully developed until one is 25 years old, as the white matter is still stretching, shaping, and adapting. The blood vessels tear easily in the less developed brain; the skull is thinner; and teens have weaker necks than adults, leaving them unable to absorb the shock of a hit.
According to The American Journal of Sports Medicine, high school players have more than triple the risk of sustaining catastrophic head trauma compared to college players and players in the NFL, because every hit impacts the brain substantially worse. Even subtle jolts to a developing brain may be associated with clinical disability, cognitive impairment, and behavioral
If one gets to college, knows the risks for his health, and decides to play football, so be it. But as most high school students are legally minors, the school system’s responsibility is to protect its students; letting an adolescent with a delicate brain play football is irresponsible and dangerous.
Football should be banned in schools for the safety of students nationwide.
by Adam Pfeiffer ‘20
All across the country, Friday nights mean high school football. For the players and fans, high school football is more than just a game — many consider it a defining aspect of high school life.
Football has been played since the 1800s, originally a violent combination of rugby and soccer with little or no equipment. Since then, there have been numerous modifications of equipments to make the game safer. Since the plastic helmet was introduced, companies have been constantly working on creating better versions to absorb more of the impact on the head.
In recent years, concerns about the short and long-term physical effects of the sport have intensified. Football does have the highest concussion rate out of all high school sports, but that statistic is misleading. According to Prevacus, a company specializing in concussion treatments, the concussion rate is only 6.4 per 10,000 athletes.
While all concussions are serious, people must realize that all levels of football recently made rule changes to increase safety. Teams and organizations around the country have converted to a rugby style of tackling, where the defender leads with his shoulder, rather than his head, lowering total impact on the brain.
Banning football at the youth and high school levels would not only change the landscape of American culture, but it would crush the dreams of millions of children hoping to play their favorite game under the Friday night lights.