Rules of contact sports should not be altered


While contact sports do provide dangers to players, the risk is well worth it and changing the rules would have a negative effect on American sports and players. (photo used with permission by Pixabay)

Benjamin Patterson, Sports Editor

    The NFL and the NCAA have gone far enough, and they need to stop altering the rules and the game of football to make it safer.

    In September, Robert Grays, a defensive back from Midwestern State University died after sustaining a neck injury. The injury was caused by making a routine tackle that Grays had made hundreds of times before in practice and games.

    The incident has once again raised talks about the dangers of playing contact sports. However, there are no options to make the game of football safer that would not ruin the game.

    Football was not intended to be safe, and that is why people get a rush of adrenaline from playing, and even watching football. Contact sports have been played for hundreds of years, and have helped shape this great country.

    The NFL instituted the league’s first concussion protocol in 2009, and it has been tweaked almost every year since then. There are two medical spotters on the sidelines who are allowed to force a player through concussion protocol if they see any of the observable symptoms, such as clutching of head after contact or lack of coordination after a hit to the head. Players are not allowed to return to the field unless they are not showing signs of a concussion.

    The Super Bowl is the holiest day of the American year, and American citizens would hate to see it ruined by a bunch of nonsense.

    Targeting is a penalty called when a player uses the crown of their helmet to hit an opponent above the shoulders, or if a player hits a defenseless player above the shoulders.

   According to the Los Angeles Times, College Football has seen nearly a 75 percent increase in targeting calls in 2017, which has already changed the game. There are veteran players struggling with the large amount of targeting calls, as hits they used to be able to throw are now getting them disqualified from the game.

    If the NFL takes players out of the game for hitting, then it would not be football anymore. Professional football has been around for over 125 years, and it is the most profitable sport in the United States today.

     In the United States, more people watch football every week than any other sport. However, nobody is showing up at the park to watch people play touch football, and no one wants to watch NFL players play touch football on Sundays either.

    These precautions have been made to reduce the risk of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease caused by repeated head trauma. As reported by Mayo Clinic, even playing contact sports as a child can increase risk of developing CTE as an adult. CTE is most commonly associated with pro football, however, it is also common in hockey, rugby and soccer.

     It would also be very difficult to reduce possible blows to the head in hockey. Defense wins championships; this is true for all sports, and in hockey, defense consists of throwing hip checks and knocking players into the boards. It is always possible that a player could go into the boards awkwardly, or hit their head on the ice, but much like football, there is no way to get rid of that possibility without completely changing the game.

    Many CTE cases have been players who had the tendency to get in fights in the NHL. The NHL has talked about removing fighting from the game for years because many of the injuries hockey players get come from fights, and at this point, it is clear that removing fighting will never happen.

    Fighting is the thing most fans enjoy more than any other part of the game, and many people go to games hoping that there will be a fight. Financially, the NHL cannot afford to remove it from the game.

    What happens to these athletes is truly tragic. It makes life at home incredibly hard for the players and their families. Nobody would wish this upon the players, such as Tony Dorsett, who was recently diagnosed with CTE. Hopefully a big name like Tony Dorsett will bring more money to the cause, and help find a way to keep players safe while playing these great games.  

    Even after all of these studies have been released, and the dangers have become more well known, people all over the world continue to play these sports. Players are making millions of dollars a year to play these games for people’s entertainment, and they would not have made it to the pro level if they did not have a passion for the game. They are completely willing to risk head problems for millions of dollars and a chance to play the game they love.

    Changing these games would have a negative effect on everyone, and America does not need to be ruining the games it loves to make them a little bit safer.