The case for tackle football in high school rests on its claim that it teaches leadership and teamwork (“The Risks of Turning Our Backs on Football,” The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 21). It does, but the price paid is far too great.
I’m referring not only to concussions but to the joints as well. The human body is not designed to sustain trauma, which is what characterizes tackle football. There are other team sports that achieve the same goals but without the risks. Water polo and lacrosse immediately come to mind.
The sheer violence of tackle football is also said to build character. Using that argument, I suppose a case can be made for boxing, which by its very nature is built on inflicting as much pain as possible on its participants. But I’m opposed to boxing as well for the same reasons.
I’ve seen too many former players at the gym where I belong who can hardly walk because of arthritis. Athletics are an important part of the curriculum. But they’ve become an end in themselves, rather than a means to an end. The assertion that athletics are responsible for this country’s exceptionalism is absurd.
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