As football season approaches, the shrieking cries of critics of the physical game have never been louder. However, those who have chosen to make war on the game fail to understand that, despite the increasing volume of their complaints, the game only continues to be safer.
In his Los Angeles Times piece on the subject, author Daniel Flynn points to several inconvenient facts for those who are opposed to the game:
- Collision related deaths have continued to go down. In 1968, football collision related deaths hit an all-time of 36. Since 1986, there has not been a year where those deaths were in the double digits, and the number continues to fall.
- To put numbers into perspective, the state of California alone had seven times as many collision related deaths from skateboarding as the entire nation did from football.
- The craze surrounding CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is based on a couple of athletes who spent years playing professionally. Projecting these cases onto younger athletes is lacking in any sort of factual basis. Flynn even calls such assumptions “beyond reckless.”
- Concussions in the NFL have also been reduced, dropping by 100 from 2010 to 2012.
- Studies on NFL retirees shows that they are healthier than their peers. In fact, their mortality rate is significantly decreased in comparison to those of similar ages.
- Suicide rates are also lower than expected, taking away yet another key talking point.
Football is a great game. Millions of Americans love to watch, and thousands attribute success later in life and personal development to lessons learned through playing. Moreover, it is a game that continues to make strides towards increased safety. One would only hope that those critical of the game would take a little more time to take in that information.