Is Football Child Abuse?

Imagine universities all across the United States paying employees millions of dollars a year to expose their students to potential brain damage and dementia.

Imagine millions of people, parked in front of their financed 56″ flat screens, in the comfort of their heavily mortgaged homes, screaming for joy as children slowly turn each other’s gray matter to mush.

Imagine thousands of adults gleefully encouraging these spectacles, knowing full well they are sacrificing the futures of thousands of teenagers, in order pocket the profits.

Is football child abuse? Probably. Twelve year old boys have no idea about the potential brain damage full contact football involves. Adults, who may or not be entirely aware of the dangers, gleefully give consent; allowing children to slam against one another, clad in armor which prevents obvious injury while at the same time amplifying a steady stream of assault to the brain.

Shaken baby syndrome. Bad parents. Bad baby sitters. Bad, bad, bad.

Coaches screaming for armored young boys to slam into their opponents as hard as possible. Good, good, good.

Unless someone takes a baseball bat and whacks them on the noggin, it appears impossible for this easily distracted American public to comprehend small, lethal, persistent threats. Massive floods, hundred year hurricanes, millions of acres of forest fires. Boo! Hiss! Gunfire killing dozens of Americans. The horror! Bridges collapsing. Must do something! Colossal catastrophes sometimes awaken them from their slumbers.

But who pays attention to the steady drip, drip, drip of the little daily deadly incidents.  Shaken brains. Immature misogyny. Bank fees on every credit card transaction. Corporate intrusion into government while saying their thefts will save money. Little things. A bomb dropped from a plane somewhere else. The steady drip, drip, drip; an erosion of our freedoms and well being.

But back to football and the money mad college administrators who pay out millions of dollars so middle aged drunks can watch teenagers suffer brain damage.  It’s not the massive impact on the field where some poor kid is carried off on a stretcher; his hopes dashed, his years of uncompensated labor gone to nought with one misstep. It’s the steady pounding. Hike, slam. Hike, slam. Hike, slam. Every time they collide, their immature brains, suspended in fluid, go bouncey, bouncey, bouncey within their skulls. Welcome to dementia, the prequel.

Another slap to the head. Another dollar going to banks somewhere offshore. Another punch-drunk retired professional football player shooting himself in the chest so they can autopsy his brain. Little hits. Play after play. Practice after practice. Game after game. Year after year. Eventually those constant impacts take their toll.

Every time the ball is snapped both teams take hits, rattling all their brains a bit. Every time you use a credit card you send money to an offshore bank. Little hits. Day after day.

Remember the next time you put a hundred bucks or more on your credit card to pay the salaries of coaches and college administrators so you can watch organized child abuse; at the same time you’re handing the Wall Street bankers a couple of bucks in transaction fees. Drip, drip, drip.

Football: brain damage in the making. Both for the children and the patrons. The constant little hits making for a seriously damaged nation.

Peter Breschard is the author of Circus Rider and My Love Affair with Barack Obama as well as other lesser works of fact and fiction. Read other articles by Peter.