Football Destroys Brains

“The reality is that this game destroys people’s brains,” renowned sports announcer Bob Costas said. And that statement, it seems, ended Mr. Costas’s career with NBC Sports.

Your grandmother was ahead of her time in this regard, Vera. She refused to allow her sons (your dad and uncle) to play football because of the bodily harm the game can inflict. Now, we’re seeing more and more parents come to the same conclusion, and football, if current trends continue, may become a game primarily for the lower class, where the prospect of financial rewards seems to carry more weight or, possibly, the prospect of injury seems less concerning.

Not surprisingly, more and more empty seats are appearing in college football stadiums on Saturday afternoons, and it’s not unusual to see NFL stadiums half empty. One wonders whether football will go the way of boxing given enough time.

As someone who’s been knocked unconscious and experienced the aftereffects of a major concussion, I have a hard time understanding why people would want to put themselves at risk for recurrent incidents and permanent brain damage. I have a harder time understanding, given what we now know, why parents allow their kids to take these risks. Yet I also recall it was your grandmother and not me who imposed the prohibition on football, which leads me to conclude some of us are slow to come to terms with the reality of the situation.

Of course, there are risks in most activities, even something as simple as driving to school or work. We can’t live our lives with all risks removed. Each of us must decide which risks are acceptable and which ones are not.

When it comes to football, it seems the tide has turned.

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