Football Tackling Is a Human Rights Issue

American tackle football‘s impact on the brain has long been debated.

Experts caution against tackling’s danger of head injuries and death. Advocates push for the National Football League to change its rules.

In the meantime, as the Huffington Post reports, researchers have found a degenerative brain disease in most NFL players studied after they died. Some youth players are taught to tackle as soon as their heads can hold up helmets. If they waited until high school, their risk of the disease would be much lower.

The disease is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Just this week, Boston University researcher Ann McKee said that former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez had the most severe CTE she had seen for someone his age, NPR reports.

The 27-year-old died by suicide this year while serving a prison life sentence for murder. Hernandez’s daughter is suing the NFL  and Patriots for failing ”to disclose, treat or protect him from the dangers of such damage.”

“We can’t take the pathology and explain the behavior,” said McKee to the Boston Globe. “But we can say collectively that individuals with CTE of this severity have difficulty with impulse control, decision-making, aggression, often emotional volatility, and rage behavior.”

A number of researchers have linked CTE to violent behaviors, including physical assault and domestic violence.

According to MEL Magazine, one Boston University study found that half of the deceased athletes (not just NFL players) examined with CTE had “engaged in hitting, punching and other forms of physical abuse toward others” during their lives. 

While violence is never caused by just one factor and saying CTE plays a role is not excusing someone hurting others, we need to look critically at how American football leagues fail to protect their players’ brains.

We need to reassess for the sake of not only those who play but those who suffer in the aftermath. For those who get targeted by violence or see a loved one with CTE die by suicide, and those who suffer the trauma of CTE themselves, football tackling is a human rights issue.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

37 comments

Chad Anderson
Chad A20 days ago

Thank you!

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Jack Y
Jack Yabout a month ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Yabout a month ago

thanks

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John J
John Jabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John Jabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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Mike R
Mike R5 months ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R5 months ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R5 months ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R5 months ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R5 months ago

Thanks

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