I’ve done more than my fair share of squawking about the dangers of playing in the NFL. Even though I’ve been watching football since I was in kindergarten and love the game, I cannot ignore just how harmful football is to the heroes who provide the highlights.
No one should ignore this fact, and we all need to at least acknowledge that the sport we love so much puts the players’ health at risk long term. The short-term dangers have been apparent from the beginning. Broken bones and torn up knees were an obvious risk, but now head trauma that could lead to all sorts of mental problems post career is an even bigger concern.
All that said, and without diminishing the dangers of playing in the NFL, we do need to keep all this workplace risk in perspective. Yes, there are seemingly more veterans hanging up their cleats before their tank is empty, but there are a host of rookies willing to take up any spots left open by the vets.
There are always people willing to take risks when it comes to earning a big paycheck. Actually, there are folks who take big chances daily for just an average paycheck. And these guys and gals don’t get highlighted on SportsCenter either. So no glory to make up for the lack of zeroes in their yearly salary.
Check the top ten most dangerous jobs in America according to Bankrate.com. None involve a mouthpiece or shoulder pads by the way.
Think any of those guys would like to trade careers with Dez Bryant or Brock Osweiler? What’s a concussion when compared to getting smashed by oncoming traffic as you load up recycled goods from the trash bins? Think a fisherman 500 miles from shore is afraid to run face first into Von Miller?
In a bar fight, I’m betting on a grizzled steel worker over your average NFL special teamer. Don’t agree? Then check the onions on this guy at 2:20 of the video above showing the new Atlanta Falcons stadium construction. This man is fearless, and he makes less than even the lowest paid punter in the NFL. Yet he gets up every day to go earn money for his family.
Risks take a backseat to supper for the kids and the tribe’s clothing needs.
While we all wring our hands at the thought of watching NFLers slowly chip away at their sanity with hit after hit, truck drivers all over the country risk their lives mile after mile. Just like a fullback whose main mission is to slam his body into beefed up linebackers for 60 minutes of hell, those truckers risk life and limb weaving in and out of lanes filled with drunks, texters, and general idiots.
How many of us are worried about the farm workers in fields right alongside a giant combine that could easily chop the poor fruit laborers up into a million tiny pieces? Or the roofer with no health insurance replacing your roof on a cold windy day? Should we all start a petition to stop all fishermen from going more than five miles out to sea?
Enjoy that last stack of crab legs. They’ll get pretty scarce really quick with no boats headed out to the deep blue sea.
Maybe we should contribute to a Kickstarter campaign to make sure each and every logger only cuts down trees under 15 feet tall, so there’s no danger of him getting squished by a two-ton tree. We’ll have to find a different material to construct homes then, like steel. Wait steelworkers are in danger too. Damn it!
Most jobs simply are not super safe. They can all be made safer, but dangerous professions like power line workers can never be made 100 percent safe. And trust me, 99.99 percent of Americans are happy to let Joe Bluecollar climb that power pole after a storm to make sure the electricity gets flowing once again. If something happens to poor Joe, then that’s a shame, but no one in this country is willing to give up air conditioning or start washing their clothes by hand.
Joe best get his ass up that ladder!
The uproar over player safety will die down a bit over time. Though we should all push for more safety measures for the game of football. The players deserve to be protected as much as possible while keeping the core of the game intact.
Anyone with a soul doesn’t want to see NFLers end up with CTE issues down the line. It’s tough to watch the symptoms Jim McMahon is dealing with after a long bruising career. Even tougher to read stories about former players like Junior Seau taking their own lives rather than deal with another day of mental misery.
Those situations are awful but have not quelled our desire to keep watching football. Neither have these horrible scenarios stopped young guys from lining up to get drafted by NFL teams.
Just like the flow of electricity, we are not about to go without football in our lives. Somebody’s got to climb up that NFL ladder to make it happen. We’re still willing to watch them take the risks involved.
More importantly, the workers are willing to do so themselves, in exchange for a paycheck.