The Danger of Football

This past Saturday, the Dawgs welcomed Southern University of Baton Rouge, Louisiana between the hedges in Sanford Stadium. Several students were at the game with their parents in honor of parent’s weekend. What started out as a successful game for the Georgia Bulldogs and great accomplishments made by several players, ended with a tragic accident for the Southern Jaguars.

Wide receiver, Devon Gales, suffered a severe spinal cord injury late in the third quarter of the game. After colliding with UGA kicker Marshall Morgan, Devon Gales was taken off the field on a stretcher and rushed to Athens Regional hospital.  Sources have reported that he was put into an induced coma and spinal surgery had to be done.

Southern players

Devon Gales and his family never expected this game to take such a drastic turn.

Similarly, Wake Forest tight end, Zach Gordon, suffered a spinal cord and neck injury in the fall of 2014. During an inner-team scrimmage rounding out fall camp, Gordon went down when receiving a pass, and as a result he was escorted off of the field in a stretcher and rushed to Wake Forest Baptist hospital. Gordon had to work his way back from paralysis as well as give up playing the game he loves–all because of a freak injury. He had to relearn all basic motor functions such as walking, running, and simple balance. Although he can no longer play, Gordon has been taken on as a student coach for the Demon Deacons.

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Zach Gordon’s future was flipped around just by one hit.

Football is a game that brings so many different people together–whether that be players on the team from different backgrounds or fans on campus from different tailgates. Being a resident of Athens, GA, football is definitely in the community’s blood. We thrive off of the game day excitement and the thrill of the game. We tailgate all day, watch the Dawg Walk, cheer for outstanding plays, and “boo” for the other team when they walk out onto the field. Most of us can agree that football is a prevalent sport in our southern society and such a fun game.

However, as we see with these two terrifying accounts, football has the potential to be extremely dangerous, and it can pose an immense amount of risks for the players. Despite all of the rules and equipment and protective gear, there are too many accounts of injuries when the players take the field.

Statistics from the College Football Assistance Fund report that 10% of all college football players suffer brain injuries, and on average, over 20,000 football injuries occur each year. Within that, 841 neck and cervical spine injuries occur on average each year in college football players.

These statistics are alarming. The game destroys so many guy’s futures and lives each year, Gales and Gordon being just two examples. It may be time to rethink some things and create preventative measures for these types of injuries. While we all love the game, it is crucial to invest in the health and futures of the guys on the field we cheer on every Saturday.

Because like they say, “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.”

 

To read more on Gales and Gordon, please visit these sites:

Zach Gordon

Devon Gales

To read more college football injury statistics, please visit:

CFAF

 

-Katey Brooks

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