Dangers of Football on College Campuses

James Walsh

At Manchester University, there exists a place that’s model has caused an incredible amount of pain, suffering and even death. These same spots exist at spots all over America and have been since 1869. You have probably already been to one at least once. The most dangerous spot on campus is the football field.

In a study by the “Journal of Athletic Training” it was recorded that from 2000-2016, 33 people have died in NCAA football games, an average of two per season. But that does not even begin to consider the staggeringly high injury rate football players face. In a sample taken from the “Journal of Medical Association” (JAMA) 172 out of 202 deceased football players brains were diagnosed with some form of CTE (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy). This neurological disease is caused by repeated and traumatic blows to the head and can lead to memory loss, impaired judgement, aggression, depression and dementia. Helmets and other safety precautions have done very little to keep this condition from occurring, due to concussions being internal injuries. Athletic scientists are simply unable to find a safe way for two grown strong men to tackle each other as hard as they can.

A famous example of CTE having grim consequences was seen in NFL star Aaron Hernandez. The New York Times reported that Hernandez committed suicide in prison after being convicted of the murder of his friend and accused of two other killings. Hernandez was diagnosed post-mortem with Stage 3 CTE, which is largely considered the cause for his violent and suicidal behavior.

Despite the danger of the sport, many defend the positives of college football: the entertainment it provides, the money it brings to the school, and the scholarships it offers students who normally would not be able to afford higher education. However, is the choice between sometimes abject poverty and mortal injury really a choice at all? These young students are pressured into risking their very lives, just for a shot at obtaining financial security. That scholarship may not even be worth as much is at may seem like NCAA schools have no legal obligation by the organization to provide any form of medical care to injured athletes. That kind of expense tends to offset that free tuition.

Others tend to talk about how schools need the money that football brings in, to pay for various expenses. In 2014. Texas A&M University renovated their already massive Kyle Field to the tune of $485 million. That university’s coach Jimbo Fisher makes $7.5 million a year. The difference is made up fast thanks to the $94 million annual revenue the University makes. With that in mind, how does it make sense that the players who are actively risking their lives weekly aren’t seeing a penny of it? Is it really alright for young adults to risk their lives for the profit of larger organizations? How much of our nation’s youth is the American populace willing to risk to maintain this athletic tradition?