Tag Archives: football

What’s my Problem with Football? Plenty!

9 Jan

Until I had a son, I never really had a problem with football.  My Mom and Dad had season tickets to the Jets.  Sometimes Mom and Dad went together. Other times my brother went.  When my parents gave up their tickets, my brother took them over.

I went to high school football games. And when I went to Mizzou, my husband and I went to almost every home game.  In fact the last football game I ever went to was a game at Mizzou. It was October 1990, the game with the fifth down.  It became famous.  

Why did I stop liking football?  I think because I realized that boys don’t tell you what is going on.  If they are hurt, they don’t talk about it.  And I started learning about concussions and injuries, as a mom you learn about these things.  It occurred to me that young boys probably don’t realize when they have a minor concussion.  It isn’t till things are really bad that a parent might find out. But by then it might be too late.

When my children were in school, I was very active in the parent organizations and school board committees.  I was the president of the middle school PTA for two years.  That is when my militant anti-football feeling really came out.

Why were we spending tens of thousands of dollars on middle school and high school football, when we were having to fire librarians, language teachers and other important educational staff?  It did not make sense to me.  I even went to town hall meetings to voice my opinion on football and middle school, especially.  We could save a job if we gave up middle school football. It was only offered in eighth grade, and there are many local league teams.  I could not understand why schools had to have football in middle school.  But I could not change the prevailing opinion.

But now with all the information we have about injuries and football, I am amazed that we still have football in the public schools.  When a child is injured and has multiple concussions, his ability to learn is impaired.  So why are school districts supporting a program that impairs their students.

However, I have noticed a change.  With major league football players suing, including Gale Sayers, over brain injuries; with the wives of these players speaking out about had difficult life is for these men, I am finally hearing about parents who do not want their boys to pay football. We are even hearing about studies that the suicides and aggressive behavior of these players are linked to these brain injuries.

Some people think they are helping their sons, believing they will get a college scholarship or go on to professional football and make a fortune.  But what is the benefit of that if they suffer permanent brain damage. Or die young  or be disabled because of the constant battering of their bodies?

Then there is college football. Yes it is a big business for the colleges and their athletic departments.  The students do not get paid; they missed lots of school; some never graduate because they have not learned anything in college.  And the colleges and universities make big money and pay coaches extraordinary salaries. More than the professors get.  The professors who are supposed be teaching the students. I honestly do not get it.

There are the percentages… Of all the students who play middle school or high school football, only a small minority go on to college football. Of those an even smaller number go on to professional football.

But how many have a fall back degree?

Yes things have changed over the years. There are many more rules about education. And more rules about helmets and safety. And more rules about playing after an injury. But when you come down to it, people get hurt.

I recently watched a playoff game between the Chiefs and the Colts.  I thought, okay, the Chiefs are in the post-season play for the first time in 20 years.  I will watch.

I had to turn it off.  In the end four Chiefs players and one Colts player was so badly injured they had to be removed from the game. At least two had concussions.

Parents, educators, really!!!  Students should be in school to learn…not to be battered.