Image Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons user Dschwen.
By Andrew Jordan ’18
I played football from my freshman year to my junior year and suffered back pain, neck pain, a fractured wrist and two concussions. I received treatment for the first three injuries over five visits to my doctor. As for the concussions, I was treated by two doctors, three times a week, for two months.
When I first arrived here as a freshman, I performed at a high level academically and had little trouble focusing.
However, I was caught off guard during a practice and took a hard hit to the head. I had no idea that it could have been a concussion, and I didn’t realize it was until my second concussion during my junior year.
After that first concussion, I struggled in every way in class. I couldn’t remember, understand, or focus on basic concepts. This continued until I was incorrectly diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.
For my second concussion, I experienced the same situation. I took another shot to the head, but this time, my symptoms were noticeable enough that one of the trainers asked me if I was okay.
In the months following, I worked closely with Dean Mr. Patrick Higgins and all of my teachers in order to reduce my workload to something that I could handle.
Eventually, we decided that I couldn’t do the work before the end of the semester, and I was exempted from it. I essentially lost an entire academic semester because of my head injury.
Some may say that I was lucky with so few or minor injuries. They are correct.
The fact that I was “lucky” despite pushing my body to its breaking point every day is baffling to me. I never even played a down in a live game as a varsity player. I can’t imagine the lasting effects on people who play in college or even the NFL.
This story is important because I am not an anomaly. Too many football players experience these symptoms but never realize it. This leads to the kinds of second and third impacts that caused my more severe concussion.
Much has been said about the dangers of football over the past few years but rarely does a former football player give his take.
In my personal opinion, football is the most dangerous sport that is played today.
When I first joined, there were well over 100 players on the team and numerous people that I talked to told me that it wasn’t their choice to play football, but some external pressure.
The real danger of football is rooted in “warrior culture.” The fact that you must try to play through whatever injury you have “for the team.”
This pressure is so incredibly dangerous with regards to concussions as repeated impacts are incredibly harmful, as demonstrated by my own experience.
What we need is a culture change.
As fans of football, we are removed from the players. When someone is injured, we take a knee or sit down, then forget about it the next moment.
High school football players need to be aware of this warrior culture and understand that high school football can not offer you enough of a reward to make jeopardizing your academic career worth it.
So my plea is that football players fully understand the dangers they are in and how playing with injuries, especially head injuries, could be disastrous.