Football is a very dangerous sport, and that's something that has been discovered through years and years of life-altering and sometimes devastating injuries. The game as a whole has taken great steps forward in better protecting the players, with safer helmets and tougher rules regarding rough hits on players, but the injuries aren't completely eliminated and they will likely never be.
Still, that's all part of the game. When you sign up to play football, at any level, you are assuming the risks that come with it. That isn't an excuse for one New Hampshire doctor, however, who is pushing Dover High School in Dover, NH to drop its football program.
During Monday's school board meeting in Dover, N.H., a startling proposition was made to drop the sport of football at Dover High School.
The Associated Press talked to the proponent of the measure, retired physician Dr. Paul Butler, on Tuesday. While admitting the action would not be popularly viewed by the public, Butler told the AP, "I suspect it's going to take a long time. This might be the first volley. It took a long time for people to wear bicycle helmets. It took a long time for people to stop smoking."
The school has since issued a statement saying that cutting its football program is not a priority, according to ESPN Boston's report.
Like it or not, Butler's argument is an understandable one. He cites the many concussions that can lead to life-long brain damage as a reason why the football program should be dropped.
While recognizing Butler's point of view, and the medical studies to back it up, the fact of the matter is that nobody is forcing anyone to play football. Kids and parents have the choice to play the sport, all while knowing the consequences. Most student-athletes are presented with waivers nowadays explaining the risks of what might happen if they play the sport. Safety is important, but once again, this is a free choice being made by the students and parents. No one is requiring that they play football.
Personally, I don't think football should be banned at Dover High School, or any other, because of safety reasons. However, I do believe that everyone in the sports community should do a better job of explaining to these kids what the real risks are before they decided to dedicate themselves to football.
Football can be very dangerous, yes, but that's no reason to eliminate the sport.