Sunday is here. This means one thing to football fans everywhere. The beloved AFC and NFC Championship games are here. One step away from the Super Bowl. All season men competing in this league have been sacrificing their minds and bodies for their fandom and that Championship. What’s the cost?
Don’t get me wrong, I am a crazy football fanatic. I grew up watching the Patriots. My grandfather was in the NFL. My father was a big football player and I inherited the genes to love the game. I chose to play football with the boys at recess every day until high school growing up instead of playing on the slides with the other girls. As I’ve gotten older and come to understand more of the game I can’t help but feel a bit guilty for watching these guys get ruthlessly smacked around each week. A new study this fall found that professional football players are three times more likely to get neurodegenerative diseases than the general population. I have experienced firsthand that statistic.
My grandfather played football at Boston University, when they used to have a DI football program. Then he was recruited to the Detroit Lions. He sustained an injury in training camp that sidelined his career, however, 50 years later he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and passed away. It cannot be 100% proven that his football career had a direct linkage to his neurodegenerative disease, but the odds are more than likely as studies have now proven. This is the story of many other families with competitive football players.
The amount of college football players who aren’t even allowed to finish their collegiate athletic career due to concussions is astonishing. The causes and severe consequences of brain trauma is luckily much more researched these days, yet should we really allow our sons, husbands, friends and family get seriously injured like this for sport?
I suppose the answer is: these athletes are adults and making their own decisions and as long as they know the severity and consequences of their sport they can do as they wish.
Now, excuse me as I get ready to watch some guilt riddled football all afternoon.