By AJ Mincer
Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
In America, tradition is key and one of our favorite traditions is football. All across the country, people watch and play football all season long. Whether it is high school, college, or professional football, many Americans have a team they support.
High school students gather on Friday nights all throughout the fall and well into the winter to watch their team play football against a local school’s team. Crowds of people come to see the games whether it’s 19 degrees outside or 90, and the students pick a crazy theme for that night’s game. No matter what, they will be screaming until they just about lose their voices.
Society has blown up football — it’s a tradition and it’s fun. The culture surrounding football is undoubtedly intense and extremely passion-filled, but the game itself is extremely dangerous and has many problems that need to be addressed.
Last year, Monticello’s own Kyree Koonce broke his leg playing football, which put a damper on his career. This year, senior defensive end Morgan Wilson hyperextended his knee when he was hit head-on in a game and had to be taken to the hospital. Wilson was out for the rest of the season and is still on crutches two weeks after the season came to an end. Darian Bates (‘16) had a concussion and missed one game. Quarterback Kevin Jarrell (‘18) got a concussion and missed one game. Wideout Zach “Digo” Digregorio (‘15) tore his AC joint in his shoulder while attempting to block a player and missed three games.
These are just a few of the injuries that our Monticello football team suffered this season. Injuries have been abundant at all levels of football across the nation. Teams like UVA, Virginia Tech, the Redskins, Patriots — heck, every single football team ever has had at least a few injuries over the course of a season. They are simply unavoidable. These injuries occur because football is such a violent and dangerous sport.
When we let our loved ones participate, we are putting their health at risk. Coach Jeffrey Woody has two sons of his own and a special knowledge of football. Woody pointed out how careful players need to be with their technique as it is very easy to take a wrong angle and hurt themselves.
“I would not let my sons play football until they start middle school,” said Woody. “The teams for young ages don’t always teach the proper blocking techniques and the coaches teach for the wrong reason. This is not always true, obviously, but [it] happens often.”
Football needs to change because it is too dangerous. More people need to be aware that the danger is a problem. Coaches and officials need to learn and teach better techniques so less injuries will occur.
It is not just Coach Woody and people in the Monticello community that feel this way; it is a real problem at all levels of competition. Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed his similar feelings to Rick Maese of the Washington Post.
“It doesn’t happen overnight,” Goodell said. “You have to make changes and there are things that we have to do and stress over a period of time… It’s about changing the ways people approach the game.”