According to popular sportscaster Bob Costas, the future of football is not looking very hopeful at the moment. The sport is under multiple investigations into former players who’ve experienced serious health issues, reported USA Today.
“The reality is that this game destroys people’s brains,” said Costas Tuesday night at a roundtable discussion at the University of Maryland. “Not everyone, but a substantial number. That’s the fundamental fact of football, and that to me is the biggest story in American sports.”
Costas, who has hosted “Football Night in America” on NBC for more than a decade, suggested that the sport could conceivably collapse over time, unless technology were developed to make it reasonably safe. During the discussion, Costas called the game a “cash machine,” but the trauma associated with head injuries has tainted the sport.
The trauma he was referring to is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease linked with repeated head trauma, according to Fox News. Apparently, the injuries most often appear in the NFL.
Such injuries have the ability to impact the brain’s frontal region, which controls a person’s judgment, emotion, impulse, control, social behavior and memory. A report in July determined that the brains 110 of 111 deceased NFL players exhibited signs of CTE. Of the 202 total former football players, 177 of them, or nearly 90 percent, showed signs of the condition.
It was also determined that 48 of 53 college players, 14 semi-professional players, seven of eight Canadian Football league players and three of 14 high school players also exhibited signs of CTE, according to the study.
Aaron Hernandez, a former tight end for the New England Patriots, also exhibited signs of CTE, said his lawyer. Hernandez was in jail serving time after a first-degree murder conviction until he hung himself. He was 27 when he committed suicide.
“The cracks in the foundation are there,” said Costas. “The day-to-day issues, as serious as they may be, they may come and go. But you cannot change the nature of the game. I certainly would not let, if I had an athletically gifted 12-or 13-year-old son, I would not let him play football.”
Tony Kornheiser, an analyst for ESPN, also spoke at the discussion along with Costas on the future of professional football.
“It’s not going to happen this year, and it’s not going to happen in five years or ten years,” Kornheiser said. “But Bob is right: At some point, the cultural wheel turns just a little bit, almost imperceptibly, and parents say, ‘I don’t want my kids to play.’ And then it becomes only the province of the poor, who want it for economic reasons to get up and out.”
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