I started playing football in high school. Since stepping on that field freshman year, I've known that it will forever be my favorite sport. My performance during my first game prompted my coaches to deem me captain of the freshman team. I was told about the danger of the sport, the potential for concussions, and even neurological damage. I didn't care. I could die tomorrow playing a sport that I hate, all the while wishing that I continued to do what I love. .
Research shows that long-term football play poses a severe threat to mental health. Studies conducted at Boston University found that fourteen out of fifteen deceased NFL players suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE which is a severe degenerative brain disease often seen in NFL players (Football Injury Claims Web). Additionally, researchers at Loyola University Medical Center found that seemingly benign, recurrent hits to the head – such as those experienced by NFL players – may put people at risk for dementia (Football Injury Claims Web). Yet, millions of people in the United States are aware of these risks and continue to strive toward a career in the NFL. Be this due to irrationality, impulsive desire, lack of maturity, or disregard for health, I believe that each person pursuing such a career has one thing in common, passion. Sheer love for football overrides any other concerns the players may have regarding the sport. Currently, the NFL consists of approximately one thousand five hundred players (Infoplease Web); however, millions of players train everyday in the hopes of earning a coveted career in the NFL.
I experienced countless concussions during my high school football career. I like to think my brain hasn't suffered all too much, as I can vividly recount my first concussion. As a defensive tackle, I was often expected to sack the quarter back whenever possible. I loved the position. There was no rush more exhilarating than forcing the next down and ending a play before it began.