Hard Knocks

Jozsef Papp

Every time we watch a sporting event, we always complain about something the players did wrong and yell sometimes curse at them. The problem is that we don’t realize what all these athletes are doing simply for our entertainment. The reality is that athletes are putting their health and sometimes their lives in danger, so we can say we are the better team or we won in a fantasy sport. However, the situation is much worse than that. Injuries sustained by these athletes affect them throughout the rest of their lives, but frankly most of us don’t even care and are already looking at the next star, forgetting the athletes that suffered those set injuries.

The main concern in sports injuries is the high level of concussions, especially at the high school and youth level. About 47 percent of all reported sports concussions occur during high school football with 33 percent of high school athletes suffering more than two concussions in the same year according to HeadCase Company. Although football is the sports with the most concussions, a concussion can be suffered in any sport, with soccer, lacrosse, and ice hockey being among the highest levels of concussions.

The U.S. Soccer Federation took action on the issue of concussions at the youth level. By resolving a lawsuit on concussions, they imposed a limit on headers for youth players between the age of 11 and 13, while any player 10 years-old or younger is prohibited to head the ball.

The thing is we should care because people are dying as a result of concussion suffered during their playing careers. The NFL was being sued by former players resulting in a $5 million settlement per retired players to cover medical conditions. The lawsuit was because of the brain damage they have suffered, but what do most of us do with news like this? Continue to disregard the problem and look the other way for the next man or woman up.

Research conducted by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs brain repository examined the brain tissue of a total of 128 football players, who have passed away, and found that about 101 of the sampled players had CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). At least every year we see in the news of a former or current player dying because of CET or brain damage caused by concussions during their playing careers. Although we might think that most of them die at old ages, a lot of former players have died in their early 20s and 50s. We need to realize this is a problem and do something about it, but more than likely we will continue to celebrate the big hit and feel bad for a couple of minutes while a player is being carted off the field.

A new film will try to shine some light on the continued attempt to fight this epidemic. The movie named “Concussion”, with Will Smith playing the main character, will show the difficulty Dr. Bennet Omalu, the first person to publish about CTE, faced to publicize his findings on CTE in football players.

Some of us feel bad, but the majority of us doesn’t care since is their fault for playing the game. If the death of people doesn’t concern you, frankly you are watching sports the wrong way. I’m not saying to stop watching sports in general, but rather realize that there is a problem with the way sports are being played.