Should High Schools Cut Football?


Josh Weatherbee

JCHS football team stretches before the scrimmage on August 25th

Morgan Deering, Staff Writer

Due to recent research involving C.T.E. (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) many parents and schools have been debating just how safe football really is for students.

C.T.E. has many of the same showing sign as Alzheimer’s and dementia, but is the result of an injury rather than an endogenous disease. C.T.E. is incredibly common in people who play contact sports like football, due to repeated hits during games and practices. These repetitive hits lead to abnormal tau buildup in the brain, a protein that collects in brain cells before shutting them down and killing them.

A common argument for the continuation of football in high schools despite this research is the fact that at the high school level, students don’t get hit as hard as they would if they were playing in college or in the NFL, where most C.T.E. research is done. Ann McKee, who runs the neuropathology laboratory at the Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts, provides an answer to this ever so popular argument when talking to Malcom Gladwell for an article in The New Yorker. McKee brings up the death of an eighteen year old who had so much tau buildup in vulnerable regions of his brain that he appeared to have the brain of a 50 year old. This student had only been playing football for a couple of years, and yet his brain was irreversibly damaged.

Another argument from football supporters is that there are better helmet models now that absorb the shock of being hit. In reality though, improving the quality of the helmets only encourage players to play harder and use their heads more often.

Despite the dangers of football, it has always been and will likely always be one of the most popular sports. Until the demand for the entertainment of football is nonexistent, no school or league is going to completely cut it out. The questions is then, is the entertainment of football really worth the damage it causes?