Okay, I know this post isn’t theological… it’s personal.  And I’m struggling with how I feel as I write, so I may sound a little “athletically schizophrenic” at times and I ask for  forgiveness if parts of what I write are random.  However I recently read an article that puts the average life span of NFL players at 52.  FIFTY-TWO years old!

That got me thinking about football and risk.   Personally, I played four years of little league football, three years of high school, and two years of college football (The University of Southern Mississippi where a knee injury prompted me to walk away from football for good.).  So I have a little personal knowledge of the game and maybe my life span will be a little longer… God willing.

Have you heard these names:  Eric LaGrand (Click)… Chuckie Mullins (ESPN Video)…  Kyle Woods (Click)… Marc A. Buoniconti (Click)… Zach Etheridge (Click)… or Mark Carmichael?  You’ve probably heard of all those young men except the last one.  Mark arrived to play football the same year I did at Southern Mississippi.  He was a vital part of the USM special teams and was known for being a “wedge breaker” (This is the person who’s job it was to run as fast as possible and “sacrifice his body” {As the coaches put it} to break the wedge of blockers in front of the return man).  Today Mark has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) that could be the result of the many head shots he took while playing football (High School and college).  Today he is paralyzed… can’t walk… doesn’t have use of his left side… and it is difficult to breathe.  Football isn’t worth it… whatever “IT” is.

Now that I’m much older, maybe some wiser, and see how fragile life is… I’m coming to the conclusion that football isn’t worth it… whatever “IT” is (But I love watching college football.  I know that’s contradictory… and I struggle with that.).  Still, I am troubled by the serious injuries that result from the hits that take place.  These hits take place four days a week during the season, not just on Saturday (There are usually three days of full speed practices).  Add to that summer two-a-days and spring training and there is no telling how many head shots some players take during their career (Not including if they continue on into the NFL).  And the injuries aren’t just to the head… there are knee, shoulder, ankle, bone, and just about any other kind of injury you want to name.  No one plays football for any length of time and escapes injury.

Football… the gladiatorial love of many Americans (I’m becoming less of a fan).  We look back and condemn the Romans for the brutality of their entertainment.  But I wonder if one day… maybe decades or even centuries from now… will people look at us and wonder why we were so enamoured with such a brutal sport.  Sometimes we do things… enjoy them at the time… and realize how foolish we were after the fact.  In closing I just don’t think football is worth it… whatever “IT” is…