The NFL football training day officially started yesterday, July 26th, signifying the first beginnings of the football season if finally hear. For many, this is exciting news as it has been a long couple months without being able to sit comfortably on our couches wasting the day away as Sunday Football games take place across the country. However, the controversial thing about football is why do Americas love to partake and support an event that is ruining players lives once they are retired and older.
The real question is how healthy IS this? I know several people who push there own children to play football as kids, but others I hear wont let their kids even think about playing due to the consequence and effects long term.
I have been shooting football pictures for years now and have seen so many injuries that could have gone horribly wrong. I have seen students and heard stories of them be paralyzed and suffer concussions and many other long term effect that have changed their lives forever. I have photographed two plays that I look at thinking if a player had been hit just right, they could have had severe consequences.
One of the games I photographed actually had a student taken off the field and ambulanced to a nearby hospital due to being severely concussed and unable to move off the field. Here are the two photos:
In this one, it is a clean catch, however the player #1 has his arm in between player #92’s arms in which could easily have pulled them both back landing on their spines as well as colliding heads. It just amazes me how this photo is a clean and clear catch but could have been completely different. I never really realized this till after I took the photo, because at the time I was just excited my team made the catch.
This photo was the same game that resulted in a student of the opposite team to be taken to the hospital. He was out of school for a solid year. This photo is another great shot, however, as he was going into the unzone, his body was twisted due to the opposing player trying to knock him out of bounds. However, the player was able to get the ball over the pylon resulting in a touchdown. However, the scoring player could have easily been tangled up and twisted worse than he had been.
But what was I thinking about? We got another touchdown and whether or not I was able to capture the moment perfectly.
Thank goodness, football players have the protection they need and has been improving ever since. However, it has always been this way and the consequences of these players lives, especially the professionals, are not worth it in the end. Football is life for a lot of people. Yet, the main company of the NFL sees the damages that come from the sport and the long-term effects on these player and their families.
The movie concussion came out for a reason and for me, the movie was very eye opening. Ricardo Lockette who played for the Seattle Seahawks two seasons ago, will never play football again in his life. He had only been with the Hawks for about 2 seasons. The moment he was hit on national television, in which many Seattle residence watched, you knew he was out like a light bulb. My thoughts changed right then and there. It was not about the game, it was about, “Did I just watched someone become paralyzed or maybe even die, to entertain me?” This begs me to ask the question of what is being sold to me here?
I am a huge football fan, don’t get me wrong. But after that moment and other stories and watching injury after injury occur in the NFL franchise, it would seem as if there is nothing that can be done. In the end, it is a business, but is the business selling me entertainment or the idea of letting this brutality go on and be okay with it? We put football on such pedal stool in America is what I am saying, and we are okay with supporting people to hurt themselves and get beat up, or in some cases watch peoples hopes and dreams fall when they can no longer walk again. It is a very interesting things to think about and it has stuck with me every season I watch and support my team.
It is a very controversial public health discussion, but I think it is one that all of America needs to think about a little more, without the NFL clouding our judgement and how we look at football.
Helmets can prevent a lot of things, but there is never a 100% guarantee you will walk off the field. It is a risk I have seen every year whether professional or not.