When one thinks about football, the mental images that he or she is likely to have include those of children tackling others rather thoughtlessly, the NFL (National Football League), and dangerous touch downs. However, one is unlikely to consider the Alzheimer’s disease, the crippling diseases, or the concussions that any child playing football is highly likely to suffer in the days ahead according to Lehman, Hein, Baron and Gersic (2012). Clearly, these are some of the commonest consequences of playing football. These consequences bring up grave questions: Are the threats that football pose too high to be ignored? Why should one expose his or her beloved child to the threats by allowing him or her play football? Evidently, football is so unsafe that children should not be allowed to engage in it.
Football Increases the Risk of Developing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
Children should not be allowed to play football since it makes them rather susceptible to developing CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). CTE is a degenerative and fatal disease that afflicts the brain. Commonly, it develops from the recurring tackles and hits experienced by footballers and other athletes, especially the young ones. Those diagnosed with CTE are likely to have long histories of suffering brain traumas, some of which are in the form of asymptomatic sub-concussive pressures, or hits, on athletes’ heads. They would not have suffered CTE had they not engaged in games that put pressure on their heads, hence brains.
It is a well-known actuality that many professional footballers who have since retired suffer CTE. The CTE is attributable to the footballers’ histories if recurrent brain trauma. The trauma causes brain tissues to degenerate progressively as tau, an odd protein, builds up on them. The degeneration of the tissues can commence shortly following a particular brain trauma or series of brain traumas. In other cases, the degeneration commences long after the footballers who suffer the traumas retire. When a child suffers CTE, his or her life becomes characterized by memory loss, aggression, progressive dementia, depression, impulse control difficulties, impaired judgment, and confusion.
Children who play football are at a heightened risk of suffering painful depression, which predisposes them to engaging in activities like drinking, which expose them to varied injuries according to Lehman, Hein, Baron and Gersic (2012). When they are no longer able to able to play for their favorite football teams their risk of suffering depression rises significantly. Notably, at times, children are unable to play for their favorite teams owing to poor health, particular domestic commitments or schooling obligations. At such times, the children suffered decreased adulation from their peers and friends. Others feel as if they if their teammates have suddenly isolated them. They feel detached from the camaraderie associated with the world of football. Notably, even experienced footballers retiring from active football action experience depressing withdrawal pangs.
Casual surveys show that the majority of football retirees struggle with repeated bouts of depression, which increases their chance of engaging in injurious activities. Previously, the retirees were only likely to discuss their struggles with depression away from the public limelight. They viewed discussing their struggles with depression in public as an expression of weakness. Even then, presently, they come out strongly in advising children they should gear up for futures possibly defined by depression. The retirees are now rather likely to open up on the effects that the bouts of depression that they suffer repeatedly owing to their professional histories have on themselves, their loved ones, in addition to the future of football.
Are young footballers who suffer CTE likely to suffer depression that may lead them to engage in injurious activities? Depression is closely related to CTE. Children who are kept away from football are less likely to suffer CTE and depression than children who play it. CTE impacts on an individual’s capacity to control her or his emotions. CTE impacts on an individual’s capacity to think rationally. Footballers are conditioned to think about the next football assignment. They are likely to have difficulties laying down long-term plans for their lives and follow them through. That makes them face lots of challenges in life especially following their retirement from football. The challenges are well-known risk factors for becoming depressed. Many young footballers even develop suicide-related thoughts, which predispose them to grave injuries as they try to actualize them.
Commonly, the injuries that children sustain in football matches predispose them to developing the debilitating Alzheimer’s disease. Particularly, the concussions that the children suffer place them at a heightened risk of developing the disease. Tau accumulates in the children’s brains, which is widely thought to cause the disease. Research shows that those who suffer memory losses or concussions owing to head injuries are quite likely to develop the disease. If one is keen on ensuring that his or her child is not unnecessarily exposed to a heightened risk of developing the disease, he or she should not allow the child to engage in football.
One should be well-advised that up till now there are no drugs that are even slightly effective in blocking the evolution of head injuries into the debilitating disease. Consequently, if particular children got concussions while playing football, they always remain at a marked threat of coming down with the disease even if they access the best of the available medical care. The children are as well at a marked threat of suffering premature death according to Lehman, Hein, Baron and Gersic (2012). Lehman, Hein, Baron and Gersic (2012) submit that their finding that the concussions and related injuries to the head increase a person’s predisposition to developing the disease is consistent with numerous previous research findings.
Lehman, Hein, Baron and Gersic (2012) appraise reports on the deaths of thousands of NFL players who were active in the NFL league from the late 1950s to the late 1980s. They established that the players were fourfold more likely to have had their deaths caused by the disease than all the other cause combined. As well, deaths were highly likely to have stemmed from complications that are largely associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Notably, ALS afflicts the brain just like Alzheimer’s disease and causes general body paralysis. The researchers come off as acutely aware of the numerous dangers of football and other contact sports with respect to memory problems, including Alzheimer’s disease. They urge parents, doctors, and others who care for children to find ways of keeping them away of keeping them safe from activities that may ultimately trigger the onset of contact illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. The probability that a child who engages in football will develop the disease is highly comparable to the risk that the child who engages in risky sports like hockey horse racing, and boxing will suffer the disease at some point in his or her life owing to repeated injuries to the head.
Lehman, Hein, Baron and Gersic (2012) come off as dissuading care givers from allowing children engage in football since it puts them at the risk of suffering rather hard blows to their brains, which is are Alzheimer’s disease risk factors. Particularly, they submit that those most exposed to the blows are the footballers defined as speed players. A speed player mounts marked momentum prior to experiencing a hard tackle or prior to tackling others. The speed players in football teams include linebackers, safeties, tight ends, halfbacks, defensive backs, quarterbacks, fullbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. To ensure that one’s children are not unreasonably exposed to the risk of developing the incapacitating Alzheimer’s disease, he or she should not allow them to as linebackers, safeties, tight ends, halfbacks, defensive backs, quarterbacks, fullbacks, running backs, or wide receivers in any football team.
The possibility that a child is likely to suffer injuries leading to post-concussion syndrome owing to football engagements is one of the numerous grounds why no child should be allowed time along with space to engage in football. It is clear from the research executed by Strauss and Savitsky (1934) that the probability of continuing symptoms after particular concussions has been established and widely known for numerous decades to date. The post-concussion syndrome term refers to unrelenting symptoms. The symptoms include dizziness, memory loss, irritability, and headache. Strauss and Savitsky (1934) came up with the term in the 1930s.
Individuals are diagnosed as suffering post-concussion syndrome if they express symptoms such as dizziness, memory loss, irritability, and headache three weeks after suffering head injuries. Some individuals are diagnosed as having the concussion about a month after suffering the injuries. Others are diagnosed as having the concussion many months after suffering the injuries according to Bazarian, Wong, Harris, Leahey, Mookerjee and Dombovy (1999).
Bailes and Cantu (2001) indicate that it is now well-known that teens and children, and particularly young females are at a higher threat of sustaining post-concussion syndrome and the usual concussions than grownups. The symptoms expressed by those having post-concussion syndrome are thought to stem from metabolic adjustments that happen with concussion. For many years, the NFL downplayed the marked prevalence of concussion along with post-concussion syndrome among players who suffer head injuries. Even then, owing to researches such as the one executed by Bailes and Cantu (2001), the NFL admits that football exposes players to heightened risks of concussion along with post-concussion syndrome.
There Is No Safe Helmet
A child should not be permitted to engage in football even when wearing a helmet since it does not confer to him or her adequate protection from head injuries. Some parents think that their young footballers are safe since they always have helmets in place when playing. They need to reconsider that thought. There are no specific helmets that can keep any footballers absolutely safe from head injuries. The famed Xenith helmets present their wearers with substantial risks of suffering the injuries. The famed Riddell helmets present their wearers with substantial risks of suffering the injuries. As well, the famed Schutt helmets present their wearers with substantial risks of suffering the injuries.
The bio-mechanists who design helmets are unlikely to design ones that are concussion-proof owing to the cost implications on helmet manufacturers. The padding found in any of the presently available helmets in the market is only effective in decelerating the head of a player adequately slowly to ensure that he does not suffer substantial head injury. It cannot prevent all the possible injuries to the head altogether. Notably, those who are involved in car crashes stop in a scope of a few feet but in football impacts, those involved stop in a scope if few inches. Those who design helmets are keen on extending the periods of the impacts by even thousandths of seconds. There is a high chance that ongoing studies may not yield to helmets that will offer more protection than the extant ones. That is because of the bother or nuisance of the amount of padding that would be required to make the helmets concussion-proof. The lack of helmets that provide absolute protection from concussions is one of the numerous grounds why no child should be allowed time along with space to engage in football. There is no helmet that can keep him or her safe for ever and a day.
Football is evidently rather dangerous. The young people who play it are at heightened risk of suffering CTE owing to the many head injuries that they experience. They are at heightened risk of suffering depression. They are at heightened risk of suffering Alzheimer’s disease. As well, they are at heightened risk of suffering post-concussion syndrome. The lack of helmets that provide absolute protection from concussions is one of the numerous grounds why no child should be allowed time along with space to engage in football. Football is capable of occasioning life-changing conditions. Parents should consider all these actualities when reflecting on whether or not their children can take up football as a sport. The consideration of the actualities may mean whether one’s children will live normally or lead handicapped lives.
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