Less Football = Less Death


Cutting back on football practice during excessive heat in order to diminish death can only be a good idea.

Teen-aged high school player died from heat at football camp

DJ Searcy, age 16, died during practice drills at a football camp.

About a year ago, scientists studied the surge in heat related deaths on the football field and noted some real problems.  Problems like the tripling of the average death rate from one per football season to nearly three per football season, the need for 14 days in order to “acclimate” to heat, and the need to closely monitor obese linebackers.  The American College of Sports Medicine actually came up with concrete recommendations such as practicing without full gear, using a “cooling tub”, and taking plenty of breaks.

It seems evident that responsible people seem to have made attempts to monitor this difficulty.  But just poking around, I certainly have found no evidence that anybody paid any attention to the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines. Me, I think one death a year is too much.  A CBS related site on catastrophic sports injury is important by its very existence, but the strongest thing it can cite is a “statement of concern.”  Nobody seems to be issuing mandates.  Nobody seems to be saying “stop this thing.”  At the same time, nobody has denied what one “sports scientist” is saying — these deaths are preventable.  All of them. But again, I can find no evidence that anyone has done anything to provide for the on-site cooling that would prevent them. When people try to sign kids up for football, the best response in this doctor-scientist’s estimation is “just say no.”  To deliver a young person to a coach for preparation to play football is to deliver that young person into the worst possible risk of physical and mental danger.  I am not going to perseverate about the opportunities for sexual and other abuse.  I will simply say that physical safety is not assured. People make a lot of money when sports, such as football, are practiced as a profession.  Some might die, even early in training.  Some may be exposed to life-threatening circumstances.

Some of the most depressed men I have ever seen are those who, after a football career, have broken bodies and have spent what little they have earned.  Sometimes their brains are “broken” from multiple concussive injuries.  Rarely have they even got it to together enough to be a greeter or give autographs for charity.

I have seen the worst that can happen, but I have also seen patients who are a little less sad because they have not lost so much.  Patients like the high school football hero who tries to become a logger and ends up on disability for back pain.  Or worse yet, cannot get disability for a fractured wrist.

The minute a man stakes his success and his reputation on football, he is demoted to something less than human.  He simply becomes someone who is risking his body — for fame, for glory, often for real or imagined future gain. Nobody seems to be protecting his life. Please, don’t let your son play football. Maybe if nobody plays, it will go away.

Filed under Sports by on #

Leave a Comment

Fields marked by an asterisk (*) are required.