Untold Stories of Football- A Growing Fear of the Game

 Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile RF / Getty Images

Football is in America’s DNA. We feel it in our hearts and in our souls. We feel it when our favorite team makes it to the Super Bowl and when our children run onto the field for the very first time. But within the pride we have for each play comes a conflicting emotion- fear. From the way the game is played to the equipment our players wear, football has come a long way. It wasn’t until 1915 that skull protection was introduced to the game, and it wasn’t until the 1950’s that shoulder pads became a standard. Today, we have equipment standards for our players that are well known to the general public, such as pads and a helmet. But now the concern is this- is football equipment serving its purpose of keeping our players safe? Many concerned players and loved ones would say no.

The biggest concern for players is brain injury, and what effects it might have, not only in the present moment but more so in the long-run. This is especially an issue in professional athletes who make a career of the sport and young children who are at risk of stunting their brain development. Players such as Brett Favre have gone as far as campaigning against children under the age of 12 being able to play tackle football. He told the Daily Mail, “The body, the brain, the skull is not developed in your teens and single digits. I cringe. I see these little kids get tackled and the helmet is bigger than everything else on the kid combined. They look like they’re going to break in half.”

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It’s seasoned players like Favre who know the real consequences of being hit in the head consistently for years, and what lasting damage that has.  “I was always great with names and faces, no matter how long it’d been since I saw somebody,” He told For The Win in January. “But that’s not so much the case anymore. And sometimes I’ll be talking, and it’s like I’ll know what I want to say, it’s right there, but I just can’t get it together in my head and make it come out of my mouth.”

This reality is the biggest fear for parents signing up their children to play football. It has led to parents like Tracy Hahn-Burkett saying no to her son playing football altogether. As she wrote to The Washington Post, “I want him to be able to explore his varied interests and to take chances as he grows up, so he can figure out who he is. But I also want him to learn to evaluate risk and make smart decisions, and as I learned more about the long-term effects suffered by football players exposed to repeated helmet-to-helmet collisions, I realized that I couldn’t say yes.”

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For some parents and players, their passion for the game is not worth the risk. Something pivotal needed to be introduced to the world of football equipment to provide more safety for the heads underneath the helmets. SAFEClip is the game changer. It is a clip tightly secured to the players’ facemask (replacing the standard issued clip) that has the ability to absorb up to 28% of G-forces imposed on the player upon impact.

This means 28% more protection for players and 28% more peace of mind for those watching on the sidelines. Fear of injury doesn’t have to stop our love of the game.