Pulling the red card on football injuries

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Morgan Johnson '17

For many passionate high school football players, the allure of scoring a touchdown often triumphs over the precautions needed to avoid injuries. To decrease the risk of injury, athletes should make an effort to prioritize their own safety and well-being over winning a championship title.
Regardless of protective padding and appropriate attire, the number of injuries occurring in high school football has recently risen due to the increasing aggression and competitiveness of the sport, according to nypost.com.
Players do not realize how their actions on the field affect their safety until it is too late. High school athletes should consider their long term welfare and recognize the potentially dangerous effects that sacks and blitzes can have on their health later in life.

Morgan Johnson '17
Morgan Johnson ’17

In 2014, there were over 1.1 million high school football injuries, a quarter of which were concussions, according to nypost.com.
Additionally, according to perdue.edu, undiagnosed head injuries are often more dangerous than diagnosed concussions because they often go unnoticed and do not have immediate symptoms. More than half of the football players who participated in Purdue University’s concussion study had distinct changes in their brain function even after a series of smaller injuries. 
Increasing the quality of protective padding and equipment will help reduce the number of injuries and deaths in high school football. It is essential for coaches and schools to take greater safety measures to help reduce the number of injuries. Players should take responsibility for their own safety, however, and consider the consequences of sacrificing their bodies in order be “successful” competitors.
Football players are growing increasingly willing to obtain a few bruises if it means scoring for their team. Consequently, these athletes often ignore the fact that their injuries can have significant effects that may not appear until adulthood, according to consumer.healthday.com.
As spectators of a sport that requires extreme physical force and puts winning before the safety of its athletes, it is our job to help players avoid these injuries. We should encourage coaches and referees to make the game safer for the players and less worrisome for spectators by promoting the idea that this aggression is avoidable. 
Furthermore, schools such as Maplewood Richmond Heights High School in Missouri have cut their football programs this season because of the high risk of injury, according to cbsnews.comThese schools would rather keep their small number of players safe than make them compete against teams with larger rosters composed of strong and talented players, according to rt.comThis decision will ultimately serve to promote the health and safety of football players.
If schools realize that injuries are inevitable despite warning the players, it may be in the best interest of the team to cut the sport in order to prevent further ailments and pain.
Convent of the Sacred Heart junior Shannon Pyne’s brother plays football for the International Management Group Academy (IMG) and thinks that football injuries can have a negative impact on a player’s life.
“I can see my brother’s passion while he plays football, but it is a contact game. My older brother tore his ACL in an eighth grade football game and it changed his life,” Shannon said. “He had hours of physical therapy and  changed schools so that he could regain his playing potential. Football is a very dangerous sport and I cringe at some of the hits I see my brothers take, and I spend much of their games in fear; but ultimately it is a game they love.”
-Morgan Johnson, Co-News Editor