When Football Becomes Life or Death


  Cheerios never killed anyone. Yes, the cereal. It’s never killed anyone. But you may find yourself being denied a bright yellow box of the stuff because it’s been recalled. It had gluten, it said it didn’t, and people got worried. So no more cheerios for a while.

  Makes sense, right? If something poses a health risk to a lot of people, it should be checked out — investigated or looked into.

  But football is not Cheerios and Cheerios are not football.

  Four high school athletes have been killed within the few months we’ve been in school: four lives cut short, four last breaths, four families dressed in black, four schools in shock.

  But nobody ever did anything about it. Teenagers keep on playing football and teenagers keep on getting killed.

  Tyrell Cameron died on Sept. 4 in Louisiana. “The player was hit during a punt return in the fourth quarter in the game against Sterlington High School,” reported CNN after an interview with the head coach. It was discovered that the student had broke his neck, and not long after that, he died.

  Ben Hamm’s life ended on Sept. 19 in Oklahoma. This death was caused by a concussion, an injury becoming more and more common among high school athletes. A movie coming out in December, titled, “Concussion,” highlights the ongoing story of how serious concussions in football really are.

  Evan Murray ceased to exist on Sept. 27 in New Jersey. ESPN reported that when he was hit, his spleen ended up breaking, and Evan later died of internal bleeding.

  Kenny Bui passed away on Oct. 5 in Washington. He was injured during a tackle and rushed off the field. He later died in the hospital.

  All of these innocent young high schoolers — just like us — were killed playing a game. Doing what they love. A game like this shouldn’t be life -threatening. Players shouldn’t have to worry about weather this game will be their last.

  Football is supposed to be fun, but what happens when players take it too far? It’s important that High School athletes know when to call it quits. According to the National Athletic Trainer’s Association, heat stroke from exercise is one of the leading causes of death in High School athletes. Simply practicing in the sun all day can be fatal. Athletes need to stay safe and know their boundaries — someday, their lives may depend on it.

  Football is football; it’s fun and exciting, even more for the athletes than the fans, but a lot of people envelop themselves in the excitement a little more than what’s safe. (And no, I’m not talking about the minuscule levels of chill within The Pack) The excitement of a Friday night game can all too quickly turn into fear when a player is injured or killed. Staying safe should always be the #1 priority– on game night and during practice.

  Football is not wrong; it’s not the most terrible dangerous thing in the world, but what kind of world do we really live in when we let things like this happen to us? Just look at what we’re doing to ourselves. Our children, our friends — our athletes. They’re in trouble, and it’s up to us, the fans, to fix things.

  Football has killed more people than Cheerios have. Obviously. But there was a recall on cheerios, so — would it be so crazy to have a recall on football? Why can’t we tone down our dangerous sports just one notch? Just try to make it a little safer? Cheerios will, one day soon, be safe again for people who can’t eat gluten, and the optimist in me says that maybe football will be safer for our athletes in the future.

  We need to make football safer. We need a wake-up call, and this is it.