Libra Academy at Linda Esperanza Marquez

Opinion: When safety isn’t just a position in football

Is a child’s future really not worth a few extra dollars? Schools often fail to realize how massive and fast football players can be. Our district does not provide schools with enough money for equipment like helmet sensors. Taking precautions is vital so that there won’t be any more cases of teens hospitalized due to head trauma or other serious injuries. Riverside Poly High School’s Joshua Nava had a major injury to the head that put him in a coma. Nava’s situation proves that football is a very risky sport. Due to all the physical contact that occurs during practice and games, extra precaution is an important factor of participating in this sport.

Football players take blows to the head all year during games and at practice. Although the injuries may not be serious enough to require medical treatment, they do start accumulating and can lead to dementia. Former NFL running back for the Dallas Cowboys, Tony Dorsett, suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), “a degenerative condition many scientists say is caused by head trauma and linked to depression and dementia,” according to ESPN news service. Dorsett’s head injuries only led to a battle for his life he had no idea he would ever have to go up against.

How hard can a player be hit until he ends up in a hospital? It all really depends on the players themselves, but now there are sensors that calculate “hits in excess of 80G of acceleration” (80 times the speed of gravity), which are known to be “factors of concussions” according to Brain Sentry, an impact sensor.

Dedication is key and football players understand that, but it doesn’t mean that they understand the risks that come with playing the sport. Trying to force themselves to play when they’ve been hurt doesn’t benefit them in any way and still they continue to do so. Some players have more important situations or relationships going on that they frequently forget to keep in mind that safety comes first. This is why schools should take responsibility and make sure every player has the proper knowledge on what can happen at any time. Earlier this year, Damian Cortez, a Marquez High School varsity running back, broke his collarbone which made him sit out for the first two games of the season. He did get cleared and decided to play again for his first time this season which led to a shoulder injury. One can never be too sure what’s going to happen at a game, but what if for the love of the sport, they choose to try when they’re not ready? Risking yourself to play isn’t worth throwing away your high school football career and schools shouldn’t encourage them to. The pressure from peers and coaches can be extremely heavy for some more than others.

Parents’ worst nightmare is feeling hopeless when they see their child lying in a hospital bed like Nava was for weeks. Sports are extremely dangerous and can possibly lead to more serious issues. Schools should take a step back to realize that sports should not be taken lightly, and remind players that there is a possibility of getting hurt since they can’t always advocate for themselves. Then maybe injury rates will go down.

–Chelsea Rodriguez