The Tragedy of Evan Murray; More on Youth Football

Charles Pierce has a stunning piece on Grantland about the death of Evan Murray.  His commentary about how “Evan is dead because he played American football” is an in your face, blunt and frank assessment of the state of high school football in America.  His suggestion that nobody should play football until they are at least 21, as outrageous as it might seem at first blush, merits consideration.  As I said in my previous post about youth football, I recommend flag football as an alternative before high school.  But, as Pierce points out, 13 high school football players have died from injuries between 2012 and 2014.  Recently, while a spectator at a high school football game, I cheered loudly and enthusiastically when our team’s cornerback ‘blew up’ the opposing team’s wide receiver.  The hit was hard enough to knock the receiver’s helmet off and the receiver remained on the ground for several minutes before being helped off the field.  I found Pierce’s comments about the fans cheering the hits that led to the deaths of the three players mentioned in his piece very convicting…what if the hit I cheered so loudly had resulted in serious injury or death?  How would I feel about watching football, then? Perhaps high school is too early for tackle football.  Or, perhaps it is time for a national conversation about ‘American football’.  Pierce refers to Teddy Roosevelt’s role in bringing about standard rules and policies governing the sport to make it safer.  I don’t know the answer.  But, I think it’s time we all have the discussion.

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