Contact Sports? Yes or No?

Con: Contact Sports Need to be Safer


Courtesy of Jim Ferro

Sophia Rodas (11) backstrokes down the pool.

A sporty student hobbles down the hallway on crutches, no stares, no one is surprised, nothing, no response from the people around them. Why is that? The reason is because injuries in contact sports are so common that they cause no stir.

This shouldn’t be normal, from students tearing their ACLs to concussions, these injuries shouldn’t be happening.

Contact sports are super common in high schools, spanning not just the U.S but globally. According to Stanford Medicine, in the U.S approx 30 million students play sports. Despite the apparent dangers, students still very enthusiastically play sports. This is because, above all, sports, including contact sports, are fun. Fun, however, is not a reason to be jeopardizing student health for entertainment.

Is it right to allow students who are not yet adults to consent to doing such dangerous activities?

According to Ohio State University, students have their whole lives ahead of them; it isn’t ethical to be allowing and encouraging students to play contact sports, at least not without modifying the rules and precautions to lessen injury. The injuries that occur in high school sports can often afflict students well into their adult lives, which becomes more of an issue when limited play time and career spans encourage students to downplay injuries or even completely ignore them for fear of being unable to play.

According to the law firm Weinstein Legal,“High school athletes alone account for an estimated 2 million injuries.” Changing the rules should be the most immediate course of action to subdue these numbers.

Despite injuries being commonplace, fatalities are rare; however, according to Stanford Medicine, “Sports and recreational activities contribute to approximately 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children and adolescents.”

That fact is terrifying when paired with the fact that researchers estimate that 455,449 high school football injuries occurred in the 2018-2019 school year.

For football, a sport that is highly contact based, is there a solution? Yes, in fact flag football is already a sport. Solutions like this can be used for all kinds of contact sports as well, including increasing protection for sports like soccer and basketball.

Unexpectedly, with their popularity, contact sports such as football, soccer, and basketball can cause incredible damage. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health around 70-80% of 15 year olds drop out of sports. This high number could possibly be attributed to the risks in these sports or due to injuries that cut their playing careers short.

So, fixing these glaring safety concerns would increase the length of time that students continue doing sports, trickling into an increase in lifetime participation in sports. Sports are so good for mental and physical health, and are enjoyed by many people, which is why I believe that in order to preserve students’ health so they can continue to play, we as a community need to first change our complacency to these glaring safety hazards.