Don’t Stop with Banning Football, Eliminate All Sports…


Yes, you heard me correctly. Eliminate volleyball, basketball, soccer, baseball, rugby, lacrosse, tennis, golf, track & field, gymnastics, handball, water polo, long distance running, cycling, and swimming & diving. Each one of those sports I’ve listed inherently have a measure of physical danger to them and although this is no mystery to either amateur or professional athletes, it seems to be a mystery to a lot of people making strong accusations against the sport of football.

No sport is completely safe. I have countless friends who played college and high school basketball who experienced knee injuries. Many times, these injuries did not come while hustling for a loose ball or driving into the paint. More often than not, it was a simple lay-up or jump stop and the landing was awkward. In fact, sometimes there wasn’t even a defender in sight. The knee just seemed to give away.

I never suffered even a minor knee injury in high school, college or while playing professionally, but a few years ago after my 30th birthday, I went to my doctor complaining of chronic knee pain. My knees just seemed to hurt for no reason. If I ran for longer than 10 minutes, they hurt. If I walked up or down stairs, they hurt. If I wore heels and had to lecture all day, my knees would remind me of it later.

My doctor did some tests and took x-rays and she told me I was developing arthritis. Arthritis? At age 30? I was incredulous, but she went on to explain the wear and tear that had occurred during all the pounding that my knees endured from playing organized basketball for so long. She prescribed ibuprofen and knee braces and suggested I look into a low-impact sport like swimming laps, and sent me on my way.

Now, I admit I was disappointed that at the ripe age of 30 I would have to concern myself with the health of my knees and modify my exercise routines to protect them. Yet, I have never once regretted my decision to play basketball and pursue it collegiately and then professionally. As Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens so eloquently put it, “I signed up for this”.

Basically, the threat of injury or getting an injury is part of the game. Another reality is that many athletes don’t get the type of compensation that professional athletes receive when they are injured or they haven’t had the opportunity to sign a large salary contract prior to being injured.

Being paid to play does not make getting injured better, but it is a great compensation compared to the millions of collegiate athletes that never signed a professional contract. When they start filling the effects of their high school and collegiate athletic careers, they grab ice packs out the fridge and do the best they can at managing their injuries and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Yes, football is dangerous. The guys are faster, stronger, and bigger. At any moment, one hit could be the last hit. But we cannot forget that other sports are not exempt. Have any of you watched the X Games on ESPN? Many of the competitors are in their teens and yet I’ve watched several of them being carted off because of head injuries, contusions, back problems and broken ribs. Yet, no one is suggesting that Extreme Sports be banned. What about gymnastics? Has anyone ever researched the seriousness of the injuries that they sustain? Are we suppose to ignore athletes like Greg Oden, Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady who battled serious injuries while in the prime of their lives and their NBA careers? And do you really want me to mention the sports of hockey and rugby or the throwing arms of our MLB pitchers?

I rest my case.

Yes, I don’t like the fact that whenever I run now I usually feel some level of pain emanating from my left or right knee, but No, I do not regret one moment of my basketball career. From the first day of 7th grade try-outs and being the only person to make my left-handed lay-up, to my last game in a small gym in the city of Haifa, Israel, I don’t regret one moment. Because of basketball, I received a free college education, traveled the nation and the world, and befriend people all over the globe. That’s not bad for a small-town country girl from Roseboro, N.C. And if my basketball career means that my knees don’t work as well, I can live with that.

Should sports be as safe as possible? Definitely. Should any sport be banned? I don’t think so. That’s why we have to be careful about jumping on the “football-is-dangerous” bandwagon. If one sport is in jeopardy, all sports are in jeopardy.

Signing out, (not from the sport;just from this blog)

Danielle

8 Comments on “Don’t Stop with Banning Football, Eliminate All Sports…”

  1. So true, D! I found out I had arthritis in my knees and hips at 28! I’ve heard people say, I bet you wish you hadn’t played basketball now. I say the same things you listed: I got a free education, I’ve met and learned to deal with people from all walks of life, I’ve traveled around the world, and I’ve got some life long sorority (b phi b) sisters.

    Well said, Sis! Proud of you.

  2. Arthritis and brain injuries are a totally different animal. You’ve never seen anyone go crazy and blow their head off because of arthritis as in the case of Junior Seau. Or even have long term life threatening issues due to concussions. Then the issue comes up for the NFL of pensions for those with these types of injuries. The NFL doesn’t want to be paying for their treatment for these conditions so they have to make changes. Call it a more boring brand of football, but its all about money today and taking care of their players in the short term and long term is in the best interest of the NFL. No other sport besides maybe hockey has an issue of concussions to this extent.

    I’m not saying other injuries don’t have long term effects, but head injuries can effect a persons life so much and need to be treated as a different animal. Arthritis and other various conditions allow for everyday life to go on, even if you have to stop playing basketball, but head injuries can completely cripple a person from a mental stand point.

    • Thanks Mitch, for sharing. I definitely don’t want to try to minimize brain injuries or reduce the impact of arthritis. If you have ever seen anyone who severly suffers from either, it is no joke.

      In regards to the NFL making changes, my blog was not a critique of that. I am more critical of the people who seem to suggest that football should be banned altogether. Injuries are a part of the sports culture and unfortunately some sports have a greater apitude for injuries.

      Even after I wrote this blog, I was saddened by the news of Caleb Moore, age 25, dying from injuries sustained at this year’s X games. How tragic and I said a prayer for his family.

      I am still curious as to why not much is being said about the nature of that sport or the nature of Nascar considering the violence that has clearly led to the death of former athletes in these fields.

      No one can prove for certain if football is the reason for Seau’s untimely death. As an athlete, I know very well that a lot of issues get overlooked because of our athleticism and proper attention to counseling and therapy is largely ignored.

      Thanks again for sharing,

      Danielle

  3. Very good points, but I must admit that I am somewhat afraid to allow my future children to play any contact sport. At times, young athletes get pushed by coaches, parents and themselves beyond what is reasonable; that’s my only beef. As long as the welfare of the athlete comes first, and they understand the risk, it is what it is.

    • Yeah, Richard and I have talked about that. No one really talks about the athlete’s ego and the ego always tells you that you are invincible. You live for the glory moments and the opportunity to “save the game”. Basically your ego also becomes your Achilles heel. Good point.

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