The Super Bowl is the most profitable sporting event in the world every year, raking in over $630 million, according to Forbes. When a sport is making anywhere close to that much money, it would be ridiculous say that its future is questionable. This past Tuesday, that’s exactly what Bob Costas did.
At a roundtable event held at the University of Maryland on Tuesday, Costas boldly stated that “[football] destroys people’s brains”. He is talking, of course, about the looming topic of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, and its massive effects. In a recent study, it was found that the disease was present in over 99% of studied brains of deceased NFL players.
Most recent in the string of research about the dangers of football is a BU study which shows that playing tackle football at young ages leads to an increased risk of health issues in the future.
“This study adds to growing research suggesting that incurring repeated head impacts through tackle football before the age of 12 can lead to a greater risk for short- and long-term neurological consequences,” said Michael Alosco, the study’s lead author.
“I certainly would not let, if I had an athletically gifted 12- or 13-year-old son, I would not let him play football,” Costas said.
Many other parents are echoing the same remarks. In fact, there has been a 10 percent dip of 5-15 year olds that participate in tackle football and a drop of 2.4 percent of high school football players.
“It’s not going to happen this year, and it’s not going to happen in five years or 10 years,” Tony Kornheiser of ESPN said. “But Bob is right: At some point, the cultural wheel turns just a little bit, almost imperceptibly, and parents say, ‘I don’t want my kids to play.’”
When parents don’t want their kids to play, there will be a lack of talented football players throughout the country.
Costas went on to talk about how the disturbing health issues from the NFL can dribble down to college football and beyond, as there won’t be a talent pool or as much of an incentive to play.
“If they don’t find a way to make it safe, and we don’t see how they will … the game’s not going to be around. It’s not,” said ESPN’s Mike Wilbon.