Is playing American football worth the risk of injury?

Mudassir Ali
Mar 11, 2020 04:35 PM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Mar 11, 2020 04:35 PM

It’s a tough call, made tougher by the fact that there are multiple entry and exit points.

Are you asking from the perspective of a high-school kid who just wants to play a sport/be part of a team/be more popular with girls? Are you asking as a kid of limited means who wants to use football as a way to pay for college, but doesn’t really have plans to go beyond that? Are you asking as the kid who is talented enough to make an NFL career out of it?

I think it’s still pretty safe at the high-school level. Yes, there have been a few incidents of high-school kids getting seriously injured (it was after I graduated, but our HS quarterback had to be life-flighted out of a game once) but the game doesn’t move as fast and kids don’t hit as hard when they’re not fully developed. So just to play the sport, or even to try and parlay it into free college… I think that’s probably worth the risk.

I think the math changes at the top of the pyramid, because for every guy who gets that big payday and becomes a millionaire and can afford to deal with whatever the consequences might be, there are dozens who take all the hits and get all the health issues that come with playing the game at its fastest, hardest-hitting level but don’t get a life-altering amount of money for their trouble. For a #1 pick who becomes a millionaire and gains lifelong financial security the minute he signs his first contract, it’s probably still worth it. For a mid-round pick who bounces from team to team (or a player in the Arena League where the money isn’t as big), it’s a bit more dicey — though for a lot of those guys, the dream and a few years of (comparatively) big money may still be better than whatever their Plan B would be. It is also true that “former NFL player” opens up career opportunities that other people don’t have access to.

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