Compared to other high school sports like soccer and baseball, American football is a high contact endeavor that pits some of the biggest athletes against each other. Every game is full of tackles, cuts, and jumps that truly test the physical conditioning of every athlete. With practices lasting many hours and games occurring multiple times a week, high school football players are under stress for a majority of the time. Even when supplemented with a healthy diet, playing football competitively for a long time can cause some serious health problems. Many regional conferences are enforcing stricter safety rules and regulations to allow for more longevity from their athletes.
Concussions, especially in football, are becoming more commonplace. Tackles are frequently helmet-to-helmet, delivering powerful blows to athlete heads and necks. Despite innovations made to safety equipment and uniforms, this type of play shouldn’t be continued. High performing players typically don’t stop until the end of their college careers, while the elite continue to play at the professional level. This means that the risk of head trauma, especially among players that play along the line of scrimmage, increases steadily as players progress. As previously discussed, high school and college federations have offered several solutions to this problem. The issue is that, fundamentally, football is a game of high intensity and speed. Just training for elite levels of the game puts an unreal amount of stress on the body. With teenagers with plans to play even higher levels of ball, this can prove to be detrimental. Concussions are nothing to joke about, putting many people in hospitals throughout the country. The funniest part of it is that many of these problems arise from patients knowingly putting themselves in danger.
Many running backs and wide receivers are also victims of ACL muscle tears. These medical issues occur when a muscle that is overused (usually from practicing non stop) is subject to cuts at high accelerations. The best players are the ones that usually play and react explosively, which means that they are at a higher risk when it comes to tearing muscles. ACL tears are very serious, putting players out of commission for entire seasons. That is why it is vital for players to get take care of their bodies by getting enough sleep and eating enough healthy foods. For kids that plan on going pro, this kind of attention is necessary to make sure that they get the most out of their training.
Coaches, in theory, should be the individuals that are most attentive to the health of their athletes. They are in charge of all of the training regimens and see the kids practice. Injuries play a huge role in the way that these teams play – planning around potential no shows due to torn muscles and concussions is a part of the game. There are many instances where the pressure to win drives coaches to play teenagers that are clearly not fit for intense physical activity, which is another problem that needs to be addressed.