Friday, October 5, 2012

Ban on High School Football Proposed

-This is another example of over-protecting the people by banning certain activities.

A physician in New Hampshire has decided the the chances of suffering concussions, a condition of which we have certainly learned much in the last few years, is sufficient cause to ban youth football at the High School and lower levels.

As I noted, given the understanding of the long-term effects of concussions that we are now discovering, I respect anyone who works for awareness and prevention of head injuries.

But to ban an activity in which the overwhelming majority of participants do not sustain concussions is indicative of a very controlling totalitarian mindset.

I for one am not a football guy. I did play though at the youth level because I liked being challenged. In my opinion, the institution of the forward pass, a change in the rules praised by many for making American football what it is, was what created the environment in the game that made head injuries more likely. The need of the defense to smash through an offensive (Which is defending themselves) line to disrupt the throw of the Quarterback created a need for the biggest guys who had explosive speed. The result was a game in which players routinely struck each other with much more force than in the original rugby-type game.

Although we have safety laws on the books, the State actually has no authority to ban activities because it determines that they are likely to cause serious injuries. The only case in which such laws have any real legal foundation are when they affect non-participants and young people. Schools and their districts, though, can do so if they are pushed by the right (or wrong) individuals.

We have become a society in which we start with the assumption that any possibility of a serious injury, no matter how slight, warrants prohibition of the respective activity . This is a very scary thing. At some point, someone decided that we need to stop everyone from doing anything that may result in an injury. What was worse, that someone, now lost to history, was able to convince others of this concept.

A society needs vigorous people, and sports are a major factor in instilling physical and mental vigor. Football, wrestling, rugby, boxing, etc, are by their very nature most conducive to instilling vigor than most others sports.  If a person wants to be soft or avoid all physical dangers  (Which would include basketball, soccer, etc.) that's fine, but that restriction should not be forced on others. It is also unfair that a crusader decides that he or she now knows better and therefore has the authority to call for bans on time-honored activities that result in extremely few serious injuries.

Note that, if football is banned, baseball is right around the corner for the chopping block. Forget the question of metal or wooden bats - pitched baseballs and other thrown baseballs ( Can too cause serious injuries, including those to the head. I don't want either banned - one's concern for other people's children is not a trump card.

I have encountered this outlook on many occasions. When my daughter was around  five or six years old, she began to like to climb and walk along curbs or walls. On one occasion, I was walking alongside her as she walked on a two-to-three foot wall. Interestingly  the wall obviously had an edge only on one side - it functioned as a sort of retaining wall, but that was not enough for an elderly lady who stated "That should not be encouraged". I replied as respectfully as I could that it should in fact be encouraged and that failing to do so creates a society of people who may have never been injured but have not done anything in their lives. She was not happy with my response.

On another occasion, I was recounting a recent event in which the first police dog (K9) that had been assigned to me, the handler, had attacked me without warning. Being a typical guy, I was thoroughly enjoying going over the event. To me, a trip to the hospital is not a crisis as much as it is an inconvenience  (I won the scrape and we ultimately removed the dog from the program) A young woman who worked at our agency in a clerical capacity began to berate me for not taking the event seriously enough. She was a nice person, so I responded gently to her, but I saw in her statement something terrifying. It was apparent that she was of the mindset that an event in which I had been in danger (Mind you,the attack did last for a couple of minutes) should have affected me negatively and that I should have been upset.

What struck me is that she assumed that I should apply an outlook more common among women (Note that I have met some seriously tough women, though) and that the idea that a guy may actually enjoy an altercation that he did not start but finished was completely  foreign to her. To her, the male instinct to relish a serious defense of oneself or another either did not exist or was something to be suppressed.

We can't turn into a society in which people are forced to refrain from activities that may cause injuries  When the activities that are targeted for prohibition are staffed almost entirely by males, I have to wonder if the motive is to tear away at another aspect of masculine culture. I would not be surprised if the physician is a Liberal. Such individuals often seek to make men as gender-neutral as possible.

1 comment:

  1. If you ban high school football in a few years there will be no football. This is what they want...after all, football is nothing but gladitorial violence!

    The excuse is danger because of concussions. Of course, as you so aptly stated, there are dangers associated with other sports. Let's list a few that would require banning:

    Soccer...concussions due to heading the ball, knee injuries.

    Baseball... danger from being hit by the ball.

    Basketball... joint injuries becaue of running on the hard floor.

    Boxing...concussion, cuts and blood

    Rugby... bruises

    Wrestling... hmmm.

    Track... joint injuries

    Field...getting hit by javelins, shot puts, disci, etc

    Tennis...getting whopped by the ball, joint inuries because of hard surfaces

    Gymnastics... broken necks, joint injuries

    Cricket...getting hit by the ball


    Volleyball...getting whopped by the ball, joint injuries

    I'm sure there are others that I forgot. However a couple stand out as perhaps safe for our children: Badminton and table tennis.

    There is an additional danger from all of these sports... the horror of a kid losing his/her esteem because they lost.

    I'm sure that our progressive friends would be happy to ban all competitive sports if they can.

    Seriously, here is an answer to the concussion problems of football.... use the same padding as used by rugby players. The problem with football is that the players play at full strength and full speed because they don't think they can be injured (or injure) because of the armor. If they had no armor they might suffer some injury but it would not be of the life threatening kind. They would very quickly learn to use their bodies as rugby players do. There might be more cuts and bruises (the horror!) but a lot less cucussion, severe knee injuries, broken necks, etc.

    The same goes for boxing. We all know the dangers. However these dangers come from the fact that the boxers use hand protection in the form of gloves and wrapping. These protect the hands, prevent cutting, but do not reduce the concussive impact of a blow. In fact the impact is greater because nothing happens to the hand when the blow is struck. A return to bare knuckles boxing would imcrease cutting and reduce the impact...otherwise the boxer would soon suffer broken hands. In the end boxing would be a lot safer, more scientific, and more interesting. The same goes for MMA. Those little gloves protect wrapped hands. MMA should go back to the original bare knuckles rules.

    I will continue to watch football, baseball, soccer, boxing, and other sports. I will continue to encourage our youth to participate rather than becoming total couch potatoes. I will encourage them to participate in non-violent but comptetive sports like track and cross country (my high school specialties). I will encourage them to participate in sports that they can continue as they age (running, tennis, basketball, softball, etc.).

    I will encourage our states and municipalities to resist total control by the nanny state.