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Obsession with football puts players at great risk

Several weeks ago, The News published a report on the $700-plus million settlement for the thousands of former professional football players who suffered concussion injuries that later resulted in severe and debilitating physical conditions. The dollar amount of that settlement was considered insignificant compared to the revenues generated annually as the violence of the game has grown over the years to the cheers of the football enthusiasts in the bleachers.

A week or so later, The News devoted an entire section to Western New York high school football teams, with special kudos to the Canisius High team and quoting its coach’s pep talk urging the team to “hit them.” That section did not focus on the continued risk of concussion injuries in spite of improvements in helmet construction over the last decade.

In the Sept. 15 edition, The News reported on a serious injury suffered by a high school player from Westfield/Brocton in a “helmet-to-helmet” hit. This victim of our obsession with football and its inherent violence died several days later.

When are parents going to learn to keep their kids from being lured into playing this game, fraught as it is with frequent head concussions, in hopes of getting a football scholarship to college and ultimately moving into the professional ranks, during which odyssey they are exposed to more incidents of ultimately crippling injuries?

It is time to end the national obsession with football.

William J. Schuch

East Aurora