Sunday, October 5, 2014

Trend or Coincidence?

As Americans, we value many things, sports (specifically football) being one of them; however, this week, there was not much to value about football.  Three high school football players all passed away due to an injury from football in just the past week.  17-year-old, Demario Harris Jr., died on Sunday after being tackled in a football game at Charles Henderson High School in Alabama, and Isaiah Langston, another 17-year-old from Rolesville High School in North Carolina, died even before the game started while the players were warming up.  The most recent of the three happened on Wednesday, when Tom Cutinella from Shoreham-Wading River High School died from a collision that resulted in a serious head injury during the third quarter of their high school football game.

The superintendent from Cutinella's school, Steven Cohen, said, "It was just a freak accident", which I might have believed if it was not the third football death within one week.

In the 1970s, there were 119 deaths from football, while in the 1990s, there were only 33.  Unfortunately, the progress was short-lived, as there were 35 deaths from 2000-2009 and already eight deaths in this decade.  These numbers do not even take into account the indirect deaths that also come from participating in football, such as heat stroke.  Football is the only sport having these problems, for no other high school sports have had any deaths within this decade.

Football has become an American tradition, so no matter what people do, Americans are going to continue to play; however, we can improve the safety of football games to wane the number of deaths each year, or in our current state, each week.  According to the Center for Disease Control, as many as 70 percent of high school football athletes will get a concussion, and the NFL admits that almost 30 percent of former football players will suffer through severe brain conditions like Alzheimer's.   Teenagers' bodies are not fully developed, so their brains are not at the state they will be in adulthood and their necks are not as strong as an adult's neck yet, so they are more prone to serious injuries.  By finding new ways to protect football players, such as better helmets, headgear and other safety equipment, the number of deaths and injuries should decline, making football a safer sport, but still allowing Americans to participate in the classic sport.

Do you think the three incidents this week were just a coincidence, or is there a trend starting to occur with high school football deaths?  Are Americans taking their love for sports too far?


  1. Claire you bring up an interesting point. America loves football and their are no signs of a popularity decrease in the near future. I agree with the fact of three deaths in a week is a total coincidence. But Americans taking their love for the sport too far seems like a stretch. People who choose to play understand the inherent risk of the sport. Their are a number of possible dangers to playing, but players are aware of these issues and many steps are being taken to help make the game safer.

  2. Claire-
    Football is such a huge part of our society and I don't think there's anything we can do to alter the love Americans hold for the game. However, I do think that there are way too many deaths and severe injuries in this sport. High school students shouldn't have their lives ended by an activity that's supposed to be fun and recreational. There needs to be better safety precautions put in place so that we can prevent unnecessary deaths like the ones mentioned in your post.