# Calculating Infinity

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Why am I giving American football this fatal moniker? Because as it is structured today… it is. Concussions are a common occurrence in football, as any player at any level can tell you. In addition, neurologists have already stated once a person suffers a concussion, there is a high probability that he will sustain another. They have added that it takes less of a blow, after several concussions, to cause the same level of injury and it requires more time to recover. This we already know as fact. Consequently, the simple math says football is fundamentally a game that causes concussions.

Further, research is solidifying the link between concussion head trauma and long-term degenerative brain disease. Thus enters C. T. E. into the picture. Adding up a little more math leads to an answer that says football, a sport that includes concussions as a basic part of the game, is a breeding ground for long term brain illness. At this point it is pretty clear that we all love a sport that is very bad for its participants’ brain over a long period. When you consider that a young man just playing from the age of 8 until his senior year in high school has 10 years of sudden brain shifts caused from contact, it becomes obvious that a professional player at the age of 28 or 30 is clearly in danger of having long term problems from brain injuries.

Now ordinarily it would seem like common sense to stop doing things that hurt, but this is football. On an emotional level it is a national pastime and perhaps the most popular game in the land. On a financial level it is an engine that generates billions in revenue and supports millions of people, businesses and institutions. Given this view of the game how can I still say it is going to die? The simple answer is… mothers.

As the scientific evidence mounts, mothers will be faced with indisputable evidence that they are subjecting their babies to danger – and that is not something mothers are hardwired to do. So, even though most of the attention is being paid to the impact of this issue on the professional level, the game will actually be killed, literally, in its youth. Mothers will simply not allow their sons to play. The feeder system will be shut down. It has already started but as study results become more public even the most ardent football moms will succumb to the pressure from others who will question their motivation behind exposing their sons to clear danger.

And finally, there is a financial threat looming. Several lawsuits already exist regarding this issue. Based on the outcome of these suits, and to some extent regardless of their outcome, insurers will find it increasing difficult to provide the same level of coverage for professional teams, college teams, equipment providers and even coaches. The level of coverage required and the premium cost demanded by insurers alone can and will threaten many programs – if not the entire game.

Since it starts with the first concussion and proceeds from there, with less volatility but increasing damage, the simple trick is to reduce the overall potential number of traumatic brain injuries experienced by a football player over his entire football life. This can be done on each level of competition through methods such as limiting the amount of full contact during practice, etc., but the real solution should focus on reducing the number of “contact football years” in a players life. But how and where should this reduction occur?

Because the greatest love of the game, the highest observance, the highest quality of play and the greatest benefit from revenue creation occurs at the college and professional levels, it makes little sense to reduce those years. And since the danger to the long term life will be presented in the form of lower youth participation, it makes most sense to reduce the contact at the youth level. Better yet, eliminate it all together. No mother wants to see their child hurt, especially from a concussion type injury, but it is far worse for a mother to see it occur with their 9 year old than with their 29 year old. So why expose the mother or the child to this? Youth contact football should be eliminated until the age of 15 or 9th grade – whichever comes first.