Are Violent Sports Really Worth Watching?

It can be fun to watch two people face off in a ring, or run across yards only to get tackled at the last second, but it can have disastrous effects on the players.

Jaclyn Rodriguez

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The brain is the most complex organ in the human body, and many things can cause injuries.

Excitement. Adrenaline. Danger. Deadly injuries.

These are the things that entice us to watch sports. Years of practice and commitment goes into playing a sport, but there are also deadly risks when it comes to sports like football, boxing, and rugby.

Dr. Ann McKee conducted a study examining the brains of 202 deceased football players. Out of the 202 players she examined, 111 played in the N.F.L, 110 of which showed signs of C.T.E.

C.T.E. stands for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, and it is a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated head traumas, typically found in athletes, military veterans, or others with a history of brain injuries. Symptoms of C.T.E. can affect one’s mood, aggression, depression, paranoia, and cause impulse control problems as well as memory loss. The issue with C.T.E. is, however, that the symptoms typically appear years after the initial head injuries, and can only be diagnosed after death.

is a lifetime brain injury worth the views in entertainment?

Football players are not the only ones at risk of developing C.T.E. According to the Concussion Foundation, “C.T.E. has been found in individuals whose primary exposure to head impacts was through tackle football, the military, hockey, boxing, rugby, soccer, and pro wrestling…”

Although there are strong correlations between these sports and C.T.E., most officials and players in these fields deny any link between the two. However, N.F.L. safety officials have acknowledged this link between C.T.E. and football players, and although they make no changes in the way the game is played, they do encourage children to play flag football rather than it’s regular tackle football.

So, does knowing the risks change your view on violent sports? For some hard-core fans, this changes nothing. They argue that the players know the risks before signing up, and as true as that may be, is a lifetime brain injury worth the views in entertainment?