Author: benw

High School Tackle-football Does More Harm Than Good

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PRO (4 arguments)


“We don’t really know what the risks are. There are concerns in general about youth football, but not a lot of data to back up or refute those concerns ,” said Andrew Peterson, a clinical associate professor with University of Iowa Sports Medicine.

“We are teaching hustle, determination, teamwork, effort, discipline, intelligence and that hard work pays off,” stated Jeff Scurran, football coach at Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson, Arizona.


Alternate Weighing Mechanism:

Whichever side can better prove that high school tackle-football does more good than harm or harm than good towards the players from an educational and health standpoint.




AT: Dangerous - The risk of death and injury, while important, isn't enough to justify why high school tackle-football does more harm than good. Dan Garza, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Stanford School of Medicine and the 49ers' medical director, is conducting concussion studies at Stanford with the use of a special mouthpiece that measures force and frequency. He says some of the truths we hold to be self-evident -- most notably, the idea that one concussion makes someone more susceptible to the next -- have yet to be proved scientifically.  529, 837 players get an injury per year in basketball while in football, 460, 210 get an injury per year in football. According to the Guardian, 2 out of every 10 football players get a concussion, while 4.5 out of 10 rugby players get a concussion.

AT: Injuries - “We don’t really know what the risks are,” said Andrew Peterson, a clinical associate professor with University of Iowa Sports Medicine. “There are concerns in general about youth football, but not a lot of data to back up or refute those concerns .”


1. High school tackle-football can cause serious physical injuries to students, which will hurt them throughout their whole life.

Football causes serious head damage in high school students. The hits they take during practice and during the game damage their brain throughout the season and leads to a decrease in mental capacity down the road. The bodies of people in high school are still developing, and constantly stunting such growth or damaging the body in day-to-day collisions in blistering heat can be detrimental.


Deaths have also been caused by tackle-football in high a school students. According to American Journal of Sports Medicine, deaths can be caused by cardiac failure, brain injury, and heat illness, and there is an average of 12 deaths per year in high school tackle-football. "During practice and during games, a single player can sustain close to 1,000 hits to the head, in only one season, without any documented or reported incapacitating concussion. Such repeated blows over several years, no doubt, can result in permanent impairment of brain functioning, especially in a child," stated Bennet Omahu, the co-founder and director of the Brain Injury Research Institute at West Virginia University. Purdue University researchers followed a football team from Lafayette, Indiana.  The athletes wore special helmets with sensors that measured the number and severity of head impacts. The researchers also put the players in an MRI scanner to measure their brain activity while the students took a test of thinking and memory. After the season was over, they compared the brain scans with the hits. Each player logged from 200 to more than 1,800 hits to the head in a single season. Over two seasons, six players had concussions, but 17 others showed brain changes even though they didn't have concussions. A 2012 study in the journal Neurology, which surveyed the autopsies of 334 deceased NFL players, found that they were three times more likely than the general population to suffer from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and ALS ( Lou Gehrig's disease). The disease known as CTE was found by Boston University researchers among 50 former football players, including 33 NFL veterans. Less alarming but still concerning is a 2007 study of 2,500 retired NFL players by the University of North Carolina's Center for the Study of Retired Athletes, which found that those who had at least three concussionswere at triple the risk of getting clinical depression as those with no concussions.

2. High school tackle-football is very expensive for each high school, resulting in money that could have been spent on educational purposes.

For example, not all schools have a debate team even if they have a football team. If you switch the two, there's a higher standard of education in the schools. Debate teaches you to think critically and analyze quickly. While football may increase a mentality like strategy, they're specific to the area of football. Taking away money spent on football programs and giving it to other more educational areas may be part of what's needed to increase the educational standard in America.


The average salary of a football coach is $73,000, and school districts have spent up to $20 million per stadium for high school football. With that kind of money, a significant amount of educational clubs or extracurricular activities could be implemented in schools, which will increase learning abilities.

3. Violence that is encouraged in football could translate to daily life.

In tackle football, coaches are always encouraging the players to hit harder and perform better. This violent attitude and disposition could begin to translate into daily life, which is harmful not only to the players, but to those around them that are caught up in their violent habits. By encouraging high school tackle football, we are encouraging violence in the participants. We all have instincts for violence that can be triggered by witnessing violence or being the victim of violence. Have you ever wondered why people actually like watching violence on TV? It seems like humans wouldn't want to watch bad, gruesome things. It's because we have an instinct to be fascinated with watching violence so we can learn from it and protect ourselves. Some sports, like football can also trigger those instincts. Scientists have found that kids who participate in those sports are much more likely to be violent off the field. People who watch those sports are also more likely to beat their spouses, get in fights shortly after playing in a game. In football, one specifically targets members of an opposing football team with the goal of knocking them out of the game. According to Dr. Jeremy F. Shapiro from UC San Diego does not recommend high school tackle football because putting the intention in young people’s minds to hurt others is morally wrong.


A three-year study showed that while male tackle-football players make up 3% of the population on high school campuses, they account for 19% of sexual assaults and 35% of domestic assaults on high school campuses.

4. High school tackle-football limits players chances for gaining scholarships if the athletes are injured.

If the athletes are injured during their high school years, this will limit their chances of becoming professional athletes and earning scholarships to college. If an athlete gets seriously injured during a game, the athlete’s whole entire life will be changed. For example, they won’t be able to pursue a career in the sports they excel in therefore turning their life completely upside down.


 Concussions at all levels of football are a tremendous problem as of 2011, with a growing number of retired professional football players suffering from dementia after repeated concussions during their playing days. Among high school tackle-football players, 34 percent have had one concussion and 30 percent have had two or more concussions. As the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery reports, if you have a second concussion, even a minor one, soon after the first concussion, you might die. A total of 26 deaths, most occurring since 2000, are attributed to "second impact syndrome." The neurological effects of concussions in high school athletes also can result in learning disabilities and severe memory impairments. In addition, only 3-4% of high school players get the opportunity to play college football, and those players are not necessarily the most talented or athletically gifted. To be recruited by any college , players need to catch the eye of the coach, and then prove to have the combination of athletic ability, mental toughness, and intelligence to keep the coach’s attention. And even then, if the player’s skills don’t match up with exactly what the coach is looking for, he’s probably going to be part of the 96% who only pick up footballs that say “NERF” on the side.


Livestrong Foundation

CON (3 arguments)


According to the Journal of Sports Medicine, there is an average of 12 deaths per year in high school tackle-football.

Among high school tackle-football players, 34 percent have had one concussion and 30 percent have had two or more concussions.



High school tackle-football - High school tackle-football is a type of football, where players are allowed and encouraged to tackle each other to force a turnover


Weighing Mechanism:

Whichever side proves that high school tackle-football does more harm than good or good than harm towards the players and the schools the players are at.



AT: Good values learned - While you're right concerning the values learned in it, I would disagree with your discounting other sports as being beneficial in those areas. For example, soccer has a web of players that will function most effectively if all are used. In a sport like baseball or basketball quick thinking and selflessness are developed in order to work as a team as effectively as possible. All sports include a grounding in a hard work ethic. What these sports don't include is the bodily damage. While there is phsyicality in them, it's not part of the focus of the game.


AT: Agree to take risks - While it is true, the football players don’t completely understand the risks that they take everyday they step onto the field. The reason why we ban alcohol and drugs is because students don’t understand the consequences of taking them. This same idea applies to high school tackle-football, because these students don’t realize the risks they are taking.


AT: Obesity - Drs Laurson and Einsenmann for the Journal of American Medicine Association found that 45% of American high school tackle football offensive linemen meet the criteria for obesity.  

1. High school tackle-football players get college scholarships and send people to college, which ultimately benefits their education.

High school tackle football gives opportunities to players that otherwise may not have as bright a future. Football is something that these students love to do, and at the same time it is allowing them to get into better colleges and have educational opportunities than they would have otherwise. Not only is football a sport that these kids are able to enjoy playing, but it allows them to improve their lives and brighten their futures at the same time, which is a valuable tool that cannot be revoked.


At the Division 1A level, 237 universities have football teams. There are 85 scholarships available per team to be divided among the players. A total of 20,145 scholarships are offered in Division 1A football and most are taken. At the Division 1AA level, 120 universities have football teams. There are 63 scholarships available per team to be divided among the players. A total of 7,560 scholarships are offered in Division 1AA football.

At the Division 2 level, 164 universities have football teams. There are 36 scholarships available per team to be divided among the players. A total of 5,904 scholarships are offered in Division 2 football. This adds up to about 33,600 given out per year to high school tackle-football players. High School football players get college football scholarships and send people to college

The "Total for an average year at a Division IA school to $41,686." This means a D1 scholarship is worth about $160k to the student. This incentivizes students to go to college when they otherwise may not. This means these students, due to obtaining a college degree, are more likely to experience economic success in the future.

2. High school tackle football teaches players valuable life lessons.

There are three main things taught by high school football: teamwork, perseverance, and hard work. Football requires a pretty unique brand of teamwork.  When you’re a part of a football team sometimes with up to 90 other players, understanding your role and that of your teammates is critical.  Trusting them to do their job is also of utmost importance. The emotional ups and downs that a team will experience help to build trust over time. Football requires the player to discipline himself and to work hard.   There is also a beautiful life lesson in the scrutiny and evaluation process.  From high school on up, every move in practice and games is evaluated by coaches and fellow players through film.  This is a wonderful thing, because it allows for growth and accountability. This is like life, where if we hope to improve and grow, we have to take responsibility for that growth, and surround ourselves with people who can help. Football provides a variety of challenges that will test and help to build children’s perseverance. There are many things that will challenge your high school football players emotionally, and might tempt them to quit. But if they sticks with it, there will be a payoff in the end. All of these lessons are taught in football.


 "I learned in high school how important a game plan is," said former San Francisco 49er and Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young. "It helped me become a better football player and also helped off the field."A 2011 study published in "Social and Behavioral Sciences" specifically mentions that football can help improve spatial reasoning skills. These skills can benefit players off the field. For example, a 2010 article in "Scientific American" emphasizes the important role spatial reasoning plays in math and science achievement.

3. High school tackle-football helps promote fitness and health in all players.

This is pretty self-explanatory because when players are always moving out on the field, they are exercising each major body part. When siblings of high school football players see their older siblings playing, they are encouraged to go outside and throw the football around, imitating what they see. This leads to more activeness in younger people as well as those actually playing the sport.


High school tackle-football is a very physical sport, where students are constantly running. As a result, a normal high school tackle-football player loses 610 calories per hour, which is double the exercise of a soccer player or a baseball player. Like other sports, football provides plenty of opportunities for exercise. Unlike some, it encourages both cardiovascular exercise such as running and jumping and strength training. Strength training is a critical component even at the high school level. The book "Survival Guide for Coaching Youth Football" also notes that the constant motion required in football means extra exercise for the players. cites that football is an activity that gets teens moving and prevents obesity.