Should Football be Banned?
Football has been a part of American’s lives throughout the United States. Most have a love for the game, but some disapprove of it. Is it possible that one of the most popular sports has become so controversial that it may be at risk of becoming banned? Most people spend weekends sitting on the couch with their face glued to their television watching football; one may think that is all there is to the game, but that assumption is wrong. Not only is this game a part of America’s tradition, but it improves discipline, physical health, teamwork, and work ethic. Many teenagers and young adults have also built their lives off the game by obtaining scholarships to pay for their education. Even some adults use this game to support themselves financially, if they make it professionally.
There has always been controversy between people arguing whether American football should be banned. There are many scary aspects of the game, but it shouldn’t be banned in the United States. Football has always been one of America’s pastimes, and always will be. There were many different versions of football in the early days. In an article titled, “How did American Football Develop?” Mark Maltaweel states that, “things began to change, however, by 1869, when Rutgers and Princeton played what effectively became known as the first intercollegiate football game” (Maltaweel).
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The game of football has been around for a lengthy amount of time, so why should they ban it now if they haven’t in the past? During fall, kids gather around after school every week to prepare for their game on Friday night. Not just teens and young adults, but the older generations also use football to connect with one another. They huddle up in the stadium on a chilly, dark night to cheer on their local football teams. Although there are many positive outcomes with the game of football, there are still negative situations that could occur. Medical doctors and scientists have recently been trying to determine if there is a direct correlation between head injuries and football. This has created the argument whether or not football will remain a sport.
Although football is a contact sport, there are still numerous reasons why it has had a positive impact to society. One orthopedic surgeon claims, “Football requires conditioning and strength training, which are excellent forms of exercise and good for cardiovascular health” (Behr). Football players usually weight train heavily during the offseason to build muscle mass and improve their physical state.
They do a majority of their weight training in the offseason because during the season they spend a hefty chunk of their time practicing. When they lose weight and gain muscle, their bodies become healthier. For instance, “A 5 -month football intervention program (60-90 min, four times a week) can be effectively implemented in the elementary school setting and was effective in enhancing the psychological well-being of overweight children” (Saebra). The study shows that it is beneficial to players who participate in these programs because it enhances their well-being.
Another reason why football helps many people out is because it promotes teamwork, work ethic, and discipline. According to Findler, “Empirical research indicates that permitting children to engage in dangerous or risky forms of play is essential to their optimal development” (Brussoni). For example, younger athletes that have just entered the high-school playing field will have guidance from their older teammates. The veterans show them what it’s like and teach them how to adjust to the game which is now played at a faster pace.
While playing this sport, you must work together will all of your fellow peers to be successful and reach a common goal. Friendships you find playing in the sport of football are some things that never go away. During each down you must focus and pay attention to all the details or you will not execute the play successfully, this is a part of discipline. From keeping your grades up, to early morning workouts, and even team policies, discipline and work ethic is implemented on all aspects of the game. Teammates and Coaches help demonstrate discipline on and off the playing field. These football ethics are some things you may possibly need during real-life situations later on in life.
Football has always been a part of America’s history. During the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, many teams and families come together to celebrate. Families from all across the United States prepare a huge dinner in honor of the holiday. A large part of the Thanksgiving tradition is football. Most people think that it is just another holiday when you gather around the table with your family and have a feast but watching football it is a big part of the day for most. Not to mention, there are many rivalry football games that take place on Thanksgiving.
Tolga Ozyurtcu states in his article that, “in 1876, just 14 years after Abraham Lincoln declared thanksgiving a national holiday, Yale and Princeton squared off in what is considered the first Thanksgiving matchup on the gridiron” (Ozyurtcu). As you can see, this tradition has been around for quite some time. Not just on thanksgiving, but people also gather around on every weekend during the fall to watch football games. They watch their favorite teams battle it out every weekend to get the win. If they banned football, people wouldn’t have a reason to get together as friends and families every weekend and enjoy watching their favorite team.
Many students that play the game strive to be the best they can be. One reason is because it could potentially get them out of a tough economical situation. For instance, if a young adult is a superstar on the field, his talents will attract many college coaches. Those coaches will then compete to recruit that player for their team. Kids make sure they are making the correct decisions so that they will have a clean slate and an opportunity to play at a higher level. If that athlete performs well in college, he or she has a good chance of making it to the National Football League. Not only will they be playing the sport they love, this opportunity will support them financially.
Many of these NFL superstars are making an impact off of the playing field, too. Every year there are many catastrophic storms that hit America, and a lot of NFL athletes are making a difference. For example, “Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has been honored as one of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Award winners for his work in raising more than $37 million in relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey victims” (Chavez). Many people around the United States look up to him and many others as role models.
Along with the positive outcomes, there is also reasons on why football could be a harmful sport. Football is a contact sport, and if you participate in it you may be at risk of an injury. One major injury concern over the last several years are concussions. According to Findler, “one very recent study suggests that sustaining head impacts in football prior to age twelve may increase the risk of cognitive impairment later in life” (Stamm). A concussion is basically when you take a blow to the head and your brain swishes back and forth in a quick pace.
After you sustain a concussion, you will usually have to sit out for a couple of weeks depending on the severity of it. If the blow to the head is extreme, there is a chance that it could be fatal. If one was to obtain a concussion, it could follow them for the rest of their life. Findler states that, “studies show that young athletes who have sustained two or more concussions suffer from subtle yet significant prolonged neuropsychological effects that impair social and intellectual development” (Moser, Schatz, and Jordan). So even though one may sustain a concussion or two and think they are completely healthy again, studies show they are not.
Some organizations are realizing what is happening and are trying to help the cause. Jenny Vrentas states, “the NFL is not getting involved in equipment innovation in a way that hasn’t really been seen in professional sports. A few months after that, Jeff Miller, the executive VP for health and safety, asked for a $100 million-dollar investment, $60 million of which would be used to stimulate the helmet industry” (Vrentas). Most concussions occur when players do not tackle with the proper form. Players tend to point their head towards the ground and spear an opponent. It takes plenty of practicing the proper tackling form to prevent these injuries.
Although football can support some people financially, the odds of that are slim to none. For the most part, football does not support many individuals with money. A lot of athletes bust their tails on and off the field for a chance to play at the top level of performance. Year in and year out kids are constantly pushing themselves in the classroom, in the weight room, and on the field. The thing is many kids don’t know if in the end they will have a chance to play at the next level, so why invest so much time into it? If one were to think about it, parents and other athletes spend a generous amount of money for certain equipment.
They buy things such as football helmets, cleats, shoulder pads, the list goes on and on. These items are not cheap and do not last forever. Not to mention, if their kid decides to play year after year they would have to spend even more money on new equipment, but at least helmets are getting more advanced every year so that athletes are safer. The reason for that is because schools are not allowed to let athletes participate with outdated gear.
Even though there are many problems between the two, things could be done to make the situation better. Coaches around America could take a step in the right direction by making practices contain more teaching and less contact. Patrick Findler states that, “reducing contact to one’s practices (of 4) per week resulted in less than eighteen percent decrease in impacts, with the typical player still experiencing well over 600 sub concussive blows to the head per season” (Findler).
Findler shows that coaches do not have to eliminate contact during practice but explains how reducing contact could help the safety. Many rule changes have been enforced in the game of football such as the helmet to helmet contact. Before, players could basically hit the opponent as hard as and however they wanted to, but too many injuries occurred from that. Referees now check to see if the defender leads with his head to make a tackle, and if they do they could be exited from the game. Players would then realize that they have to tackle opponents the correct way to ensure their safety.
Coaches could also focus on teaching younger individuals the fundamentals of football, instead of throwing them straight into organized tackle football, they could make sure the kids know how to properly tackle. Players could also attend tackling camps to improve their knowledge about the proper tackling form. If they were to attend a camp like this, other individuals would go over how to correctly tackle.
There may always be a controversy where football is concerned. There are two strong sides to this argument. One side believes that football should not be banned because of the benefits it brings to children and adults. The opposing side argues it should be banned due to the negative aspects it brings to the athletes, mostly concerning the health risks related to the sport. Although there is a relevant opposing argument, there are many reasons why football has a necessary spot in the United States. People do not understand the effects it has on their lives until they really focus in on it and pay attention to the details. To take the game of football away from this country would change the face of America forever.