Damar Hamlin’s injury may affect participation in youth football
23.6 million people adjust in Monday Night Football between the Bengals and the Bills in the past week. 23.6 million people watched Bills safety Damar Hamlin almost lost his life. That image sticks with everyone, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some parents think of that time in the future when considering enrolling their kids in youth soccer programs.
Join youth football has dropped by more than 600,000 participants over the past decade and a half. After peaking with 2.5 million boys between the ages of 6 and 18 playing soccer in 2008, the number dropped below 1.9 million in 2019. Do you think that’s a coincidence? It absolutely does not.
In 2005, pathologist Bennet Omalu published the first evidence of CTE inside the brain of a former football player – Mike Webster. The publication began to attract national attention in 2007. Although football has attracted a very large participation rate among children and young people, the new findings are convincing. Parents remove their children from the sport.
Youth football participation has decreased
Since then, youth football’s participation has declined gradually but clearly. In California, participate in high school football has fallen for six years in a row, and Hamlin’s injury is another big nail in youth football’s metaphorical coffin.
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Despite not involving head trauma like most people are worried about in regards to football player safety, Hamlin’s injury was a rude awakening, reminding people the damage a sport like football can have on the rest of the body. Most people believe that what Hamlin suffered was commotio cordis, or chest trauma during an interval where his heart was resetting, causing arrhythmic death — although that hasn’t been confirmed yet. Even though commotio cordis incidents are considered “crash accident King” and is more common in sports with bullets prefers baseball, lacrosse, and hockey to soccer, most parents will associate Hamlin’s near-death experience with what they’ve heard a million times about football — that is: the risks Long-term health risks come from playing the game — even if the incident is hardly sport-related.
Deadpsin talked to Maryville Oneaffiliated with PC’s professorthe media, Dustin York to find out how the demise of national broadcaster Hamlin could hasten the decline in youth soccer participation and how the NFL will try to keep America’s youth interested. Soccer.
“The attention that has been placed on this situation, it deserves, is enormous. York told Deadspin. “Mothers, fathers, grandparents – everyone – have just been reminded of the violence this sport brings. It’s not just CTE and brain injury. It’s anything from broken bones to cartilage to heart and chest injuries. It opens up the conversation that we are so focused on CTE and head injuries that we forget about the dangers this sport can pose to the rest of the body.”
Influence on sports parents
Hamlin recently woke up for the first time since Monday night. Things seem to be going well in his recovery. That is amazing news. However, York claims that even if Hamlin makes a full recovery and has a long, illustrious NFL career, that story won’t get as much national attention as the original injury. Thousands of parents will only have the image of Hamlin lying unconscious in the middle of the Paul Brown Stadium ingrained in their memories.
“A lot of these parents didn’t hear about Hamlin on ESPN, but FOX, CNN and other mainstream news outlets. Those parents don’t necessarily see the good news,” York said. “Maybe Hamlin turned out to be a professional pitcher. Those parents will never see that, never. They weren’t sports fans at first. CNN, FOX News, NBC, they’re not going to cover who made the Pro Bowl, are they?”
A full recovery may not be expected, but it is not unheard of either. In 1998, defender Chris Pronger of St. Louis Blues suffered an umbilical cord injury incident after blocking a slap. This happened on live TV (no, I won’t link this clip), and although he missed a few weeks of the regular season, he made a full recovery, winning the Hart Trophy. next season and a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame. That doesn’t matter though. This Hamlin incident occurred on a much larger stage and attracted much more national attention.
Clearly, the NFL cannot ignore injury concerns caused by Hamlin’s demise, though that’s probably what they want to do. York said the NFL’s crisis communication “handbook” would “advise never to address future problem scenarios or risks and instead focus solely on providing support.” physical and mental health of Damar Hamlin.” However, given how Hamlin’s injury could affect football in the US, York believes the NFL has given up.
“If I were the NFL, I’m just trying to have as much of a conversation about safety as possible, because the idea of telling this story around one person probably wouldn’t reach non-fans. sport.” York continued, “It’s hard to get Hamlin nearly dying on the field from the minds of non-athletic parents, and it probably shouldn’t be. Maybe it’s good that parents are aware of the dangers that football can bring. But if they want to keep non-sports parents comfortable letting their kids play football, the only way to do that is to carry out a thorough, years-long campaign to create confidence in the safety of players.”
That sounds great, but the NFL has been doing exactly this for years now, ever since the link between football and CTE was found. How does Hamlin’s injury change the direction of these safety campaigns? “NFL must continue to use [Hamlin’s] name,” York said. “Very specifically, what they are doing for him, for his teammates and for the Bengals players who have witnessed this. How do they emotionally support those players? It was only short term.”
How does the NFL move forward?
It sucks to think that the NFL will try to use Hamlin’s name as an excuse to incite confidence in the safety of football in the future, but York is sure that’s what will happen in the near future. In the long run, however, the NFL’s plan will more or less stay the same. After the season is over, unless Hamlin recovers to a serious one, the NFL will most likely return to talking about the safety of football as if Hamlin’s situation had never happened.
It makes sense that the NFL would take such an approach. Due to the violent nature of the sport, it is difficult to talk about each individual health problem that can arise when someone plays soccer. “If the NFL starts fighting a lot of health wars, they’re going to start losing the overall safety war,” York explained. “As long as the NFL is transparent and honest in the steps they’re taking to make sure things are as safe as possible, they should be able to appeal to those uncertain parents, because safety is paramount. Their number one concern, not necessarily one area. but the overarching concept of player safety in football.”
The Hamlin situation is unprecedented in NFL football. Lion’s wide receiver Chuck Hughes died on the field in 1971 due to a blood clot, but the prevalence of social media these days makes Hamlin a more talked-about incident. Even behind the Steelers defender Ryan Shazier is paralyzed in the match on Monday night 2017, the participation of youth football did not make a big splash. California high schools lost just 2793 participants from 2017 to 2018, which is actually less than the number of participants the state lost from 2016 to 2017 (3126).
That said, a near-death experience is a completely different situation. It’s the scariest thing a parent can witness, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the number plummeted by 2023.
It’s impossible to know what might quell some parents’ concerns about the sport, but the immediate improvement in medical technology available at youth soccer games seems to as an obvious first step. The New Orleans Saints have expressed interest in starting such a program to deliver that technology.
Now it’s the NFL’s turn. This is a billion dollar industry and while the availability of medical technology may not prevent the long-term harm football can create, this move by the Saints will be an effective short-term solution. for reducing youth football participation rates. However, I doubt the NFL will do anything like this. I hope they do, but I doubt it.
Instead, they will use Hamlin’s rehabilitation as a means to detail the safety of the sport. They will assure the public that they will spend more money to find new ways to keep players safe and that they will stay on the same path they have been taking for over a decade now. That is not enough though. This is the life of everyone we’re talking about – not just Hamlin, but all the players who suffer the long-term consequences of the sport – and until the NFL finds concrete ways to mitigate those Taking that risk, I can only hope Hamlin’s injury will recover as a wake-up call to thousands of parents across the country. Football is dangerous.