A crowd cheering while somebody runs down the field may seem like a perfect movie scene but competitive sports are much worse than a simple touchdown or goal. Though sports can be good, the cons outweigh the pros. Due to the injury risks, the pressure it puts on kids, and academics becoming second to sports, it’s surprising that these sports are even still around, and if one was to think about it, they shouldn’t be. Sports are way too competitive for the athlete.
Whether it is tackling a quarterback, running the bases, kicking a ball, or even throwing a free throw, injuries happen in sports quite often. For instance, according to the LA Times, NFL players who started to play football before the age of 12 performed worse on cognition tests than those who started after 12. Brain injuries can cause problems later in life, especially when young. These hard hits can affect the athlete later, with lower cognition and a higher risk with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. In fact, playing any contact sport at any level (elementary, middle school, high school, etc) has shown that those symptoms occur even sooner, as early as their 40s (Schwarz).
This is important because when you get Dementia you become an adult child. Now those family members that are relying on you for support are required to reverse roles and provide you the with the essentials needed to survive. You become reliant on others instead of being self sufficient. Furthermore, if somebody who has had a concussion before returns to sports, they can get injured even worse or die from Second-Impact Syndrome (McDowell). Second-Impact Syndrome is when a person receives a second concussion. While small amounts of exercising is good for the body and mind, the high level of exertion can be incredibly harmful. Another argument in criticism of sports is that competitive sports can put pressure on kids.
One example of this is that a child, named David, was treated badly by a coach. The way this young man’s brother described it was, “Before every game, the coach would have all his players form a circle, put their hands inside and yell out, “Team!” Then, without fail, my brother walked to the bench, sat down and remained there—completely ignored—for three quarters. Immediately before the final period began, the coach would point to David and begrudgingly insert him … for the requisite minimum amount all kids must play. He made it painfully clear to the others that my brother was the weakest of weak links.” (Pearlman). Additionally, statistics show that sports cause stress on the athlete.
5-10% of sports player experience excessive stress. 30-35% report feeling as if they burned out. 20% of soccer players report feeling extremely stressed either before, during, or after a game (Ohio University). Being put under pressure is not fun.
It can lead to feelings of worry and self doubt which fuels insecurity in activities other than sports, like school or clubs. This is important because when somebody is insecure in school, they feel like they aren’t good enough and stop trying, causing their grades to fall. My final reason is that sports can cause academics to become secondary to the athlete. For example, an investigation conducted by the NCAA has shown that in 2015, 20 colleges had committed academic fraud. Tale, for instance, the case of the University of North Carolina. UNC had created, “no show” classes or phantom classes.
These were classes where athletes received a grade, but did nothing, as these classes were fake. Student athletes tend to take easier classes and get lower grades (Zócalo Public Square). This is typically because the athletes don’t think the team cares about academics, when indeed they do. They perform worse though, since they want to “fit in” with other members of the team. This is important because dedicated student athletes could not get a scholarship, and the person who did get the scholarship could be cheating. This is also important because if somebody is able to cheat in college, they may think they can cheat at other things in life, when in reality they can’t.
Some may mention that sports have substantial health benefits. While this is true, the effects on the athlete in later life could counteract those benefits. Dementia, alzheimer’s, and concussions could lead to more complications than those if you didn’t participate in sports.
Additionally, only 300,000 people die of obesity each year, while 1.6-3.8 million get a concussion every year (BIRI). That means more people are going to possibly get alzheimer’s or Dementia, meaning that these individuals won’t be able to function like they did before.
Also, obesity can be managed without sports; therefore, we could abolish sports and still avoid obesity. To conclude, competitive sports are too competitive and should be limited more. They cause significant and lifelong injuries, put a lot of stress and pressure on the athletes competing, and can cause academics to become secondary to the athlete.