One Game, One Brain: A Discussion About Football and CTE

Sports expose young athletes to a wide variety of opportunities, but can also damage an athlete’s life in a matter of seconds.  Masculinity also plays a huge role in the lives of male athletes who tend to be willing to sacrifice their body in the name of their sport. The challenge, the excitement and the thrill of sports are just a few of the key factors an athlete may participate in sport. Aside from the health, social and emotional benefits, there are also plenty of disadvantages when it comes to exposing oneself in a competitive atmosphere (i.e. a sport).

An article called “Concussions and football: A look behind the hits” talks about brain injuries in the world of sports. Brain injuries are often overshadowed by other news stories and issues flooding the media, but something called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) should be taken much more seriously than this. CTE is a neurodegenerative disease that is often associated with athletes who have a history of repeated concussions and progressive dementia. Due to the high risk of head injuries in tackle football, increasing the risk of CTE, many parents have been choosing to enroll their children in flag football or holding off from tackle football until the age of 13 or 14, when their brain has been further developed. Concussions in football tend to be higher than most sports because of the high rate of athletes who thrive to use their masculinity as a tool to push them above the rest and do whatever it takes to get to that level (sport masculinity). A journal article by Anderson and Kian concludes that in regards to concussions, there has been more of an emphasis on supporting the notion of health, and less attention given to the masculine warrior narrative.

Image: Bryan Christie Design


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