"According to federal court records, the NFL expects nearly a third of all retired players to develop a long-term cognitive problem, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, as a result of playing football. Neuroscientists are studying the link between these destructive cognitive effects caused by repeated impacts to one's head and the link between them and the high occurrence of suicidal tendencies and resulting self-inflicted deaths in its former players. These deadly cognitive effects can and do occur to a degree from playing all levels of full-contact football, but the higher the level of play and longer the duration, the greater the risk for the player."
-what should be posted before and during every football game
I love the game without the hits. I used to play it every recess and Saturday as a kid. I also love how it gets so many kids active. But if we can't let go of the love of violent hits in the game, former players will continue to kill themselves and develop degenerative brain diseases due to playing the game.
The difference between gladiator combat and modern head-impact sports is that in ancient times we would see the player die on the field. Now we watch a slow burning fuse being lit, with people dancing and cheering and wearing costumes as it burns; the jubilation of a touchdown makes it less likely for us to notice the game is killing those boys.
Don't buy the merchandise. Don't watch the ads. Don't let your child play a game if it entails head collisions of any velocity. As an educator and a father, I ask you to consider taking action to show you care for the brain and lives of the players and their families at least as much as you like the game.