Three teenagers have died playing high school football so far this season due to injuries suffered on the field. A few high schools have completely scrapped their football programs for a variety of reasons, one of which is the fear of injuries.
When does this drip turn into a drizzle? From the New York Times:
Despite the popularity of college and professional football, the number of male high school football players has fallen to about 1.08 million this year, a 2.4 percent decline from five years ago.
Pop Warner, the largest youth football organization, has seen larger decreases. It has also been sued by a parent of a player who committed suicide at 25 and was found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease linked to repeated head hits.
The only people who don’t see the trend in its embryonic stages are those with their head in the sand … like the media in the late 90s during the Sosa/McGwire home run madness.
If football doesn’t huddle up and make some changes to make the sport safer – and they’ve already started the process, but not nearly enough is being done – it’s anyone’s guess what football will look like in 2045.
This much is true: Football now will not be the same our kids and grandkids are watching in 30 years.