America’s most popular sport unites families, raises injury concerns

February 9, 2023

Despite the number of injuries each year, football is one of the most popular sports in America, drawing millions of viewers each week. The Super Bowl is the crown jewel of The National Football League (NFL), with last year’s game attracting about 99.18 million viewers. 

I love watching football, especially the NFL games. I grew up watching the NFL which is something I share heavily with my family. My family had two people who played football in their high schools. My 16-year-old younger cousin plays for the Chatsworth High School JV football team. He got hurt badly last year and sprained his ankle for a couple of months, causing him to miss out on a couple of practices and games. My 18-year-old cousin played for his Clark High School football team when he was a freshman and sophomore year, but stopped playing because he grew out of the sport. 

Besides watching my cousins play football, my family watches each new NFL season, cheering for each other’s different teams. I have lost my voice sometimes screaming at the TV screen wanting my team to make a different play or messing up on a touchdown. 

With 32 teams across the country, football has the most injuries compared to any other sport. The NFL had about 129 injuries in 2021, whereas baseball has 37 injuries in the same year. These injuries can affect a player’s ability to play their positions. Some of the most recently injured players are Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered from commotio cordis, and Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who suffered from head and neck injuries. 

 To protect players from injuries, football equipment has changed over the years. The first football helmet was only made out of leather straps and moleskin, compared to now where it’s made out of light and durable plastic. The knee pads then were sewn into the pants, where today the pads are worn inside the pants providing more protection. NFL players wear thigh and knee pads to limit the damage a player takes on their legs, as well as wearing shoulder pads and helmets. 

If any player is not wearing this equipment, then they are not allowed to play. If a player is injured too many times or misses too much play time, they might be dropped from the team. Even with the amount of safety equipment players wear, they are still prone to injuries on the field. 

Despite the criticism of the sport because of the injuries, my family and I still plan to gather around the TV and watch the Super Bowl on Sunday. 

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