Football has long been America's most popular sport—and its most hazardous, with around one million high students participating in organized play. This collision sport has a poor safety record, with roughly twice as many injuries as basketball, our country's second most popular activity. High school football players are the most vulnerable. During the 2015 season, nearly 700 young people were treated at hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to football. The majority of these patients were male and between 15 and 19 years old.
The most common injury associated with football is concussion, which can be caused by a violent hit to the head or body. Other common football injuries include sprains and broken bones. Injuries can happen during practice as well as games. As many as 95% of all football players will experience some form of trauma to their shoulder over the course of their career. The risk of suffering a serious brain injury in football is particularly high because many players suffer multiple impacts to the head throughout the game. A study of former college football players found that those who had suffered three or more concussions were up to eight times more likely to develop dementia later in life than non-athletes.
The danger of playing football has been a topic of discussion since the early 1990s, when several high-profile cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) were reported in ex-players. CTE is a degenerative disease of the brain and mind that is commonly found in elderly men who have history of repetitive brain trauma.
Football's low popularity among younger Americans, along with mounting proof of the physical and emotional harm it does, even at the high school level, may imperil its place in the coming decades. There is one more sad fact to ponder for all spectator sports in the United States. While fans enjoy their games, they suffer serious injuries that could be avoided if organizers would only change rules that cause harm.
According to a report by the Sports Injury Prevention Center at the University of Delaware, football is the most dangerous sport for players under age 19. The center found that almost half of all high school athletes injured on campus were playing football. In fact, between 1995 and 2004, the rate of injury among high school football players increased by 22 percent!
The main reason why football is so harmful is because it is a violent game. Players are often tackled or hit hard during practice, which can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated head trauma.
CTE has been diagnosed in 177 former NFL players as of 2016. This number is likely to rise as more research is done on the disease.
Symptoms of CTE include depression, memory problems, aggression, confusion, and loss of judgment. There is no cure for CTE, but some treatments have shown promise in reducing symptoms such as depression and aggression.
Football, basketball, and wrestling are the most risky sports for teenagers aged 15 to 24. Most risky sports with the highest rate of injury
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