Professional Football and the Toll it takes on Players

Every Sunday, hundreds of thousands of Americans gather around their television sets to watch one of America’s favorite past times, professional football. Professional football has been around for almost one hundred years; the NFL was founded in August of 1920 and has been extremely popular in American society since then.

Essentially, the NFL is a head-to-head battle between physically freakish athletes. These nature-defying, professional athletes compete every year in hopes to win the greatest reward a football player can achieve, the Lombardi trophy.

However, it isn’t as simple as that. These athletes face many hardships in their careers and are subject to violence. A professional football player’s career can be changed instantly due to a gruesome injury or, most recently, a dispute outside of the football field, such as domestic violence.

Below are some of the “physically freakish athletes” in today’s NFL:

JJ Watt of the Houston Texans
Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions
Marshawn lynch of the Seattle Seahawks

The images above show players JJ Watt, Calvin Johnson and Marshawn Lynch, all of which are some of the greatest professional football players in the NFL today. The reason for these players success, if one cannot tell from the images, is their extreme physical attributes, whether it includes brute strength, towering height, quick and agile speed, or a combination of all three. However, these aren’t the only three players with these attributes; nearly every player in the NFL possesses these insane peculiarities, which is why the game can be so damaging to a player’s physical and psychological well-being.

Perhaps one of the most controversial topics revolving around the NFL currently is the issue on concussions. The video below will briefly describe the debate on this issue and will provide some of the hits that take place in the game that have caused concussions among players in the past.

As the video explained, “concussions have recently became a much bigger factor of interest in the world of football because of how common they have become.”

The podcast posted below further investigates the issue on concussions:

On twitter there is an account that has recorded every concussion since August of 2011. Here is a tweet posted by that account:

The frequency of concussions has increase substantially. And although there seems to be a lot of media revolving around the issue of concussions, it is not the only issue that players in the NFL encounter. Players can face injuries that are extremely damaging to their physical bodies, such injuries affect players’ arms, legs, backs, necks, etc.

Pictured below are some injuries to players that have occurred in the last few years:

Quarterback Robert Griffin III tears ACL
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers breaks collarbone

Professional players aren’t just facing concussion injuries, but other injuries, such as torn ACLs and broken collarbones (pictured above).

Another huge topic that has arisen, especially this year, concerning NFL players is domestic violence and violence within their households. The exposure to violence in the NFL seems to have been the cause for the violence taken place in the households of these players. The two most publicized cases have involved players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson.

Ray Rice (right) and Adrian Peterson (left)

Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended from the NFL for assault on his wife, Janay Rice. Adrian Peterson was placed on the exempt list by the Minnesota Vikings due to being indicted for his child abuse charges. Both incidents took place earlier this year.

The issues with injuries and violence embedded in the NFL are very concerning. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the NFL and its players in future years.

My Podcast:

Work Cited

Aaron Rodgers. 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

Belson, Ken. “Brain Trauma to Affect One in Three Players, N.F.L. Agrees.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <;.

Bien, Louis. “A Complete Timeline of the Ray Rice Assault Case.” 28 Nov. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <;.

Calvin Johnson. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

DiMatteo, Steve. “A Timeline of the Adrian Peterson Child Abuse Case.” 17 Sept. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <;.

Fainaru-Wada, Mark, and Steve Fainaru. “ESPN Front and Center Podcast.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 16 Nov. 2012. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <;.

Fainaru, Steve, and Mark Fainaru-Wada. “The NFL’s ACL Issue: Experts Debate Contributing Factors.” Lower Extremity Review Magazine., 22 Jan. 2013. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <;.

JJ Watt. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

Korr, Mary. “Ellenbogen Speaks On Head Injuries In Youth, The NFL, Military: Co-Chair Of The NFL Head, Neck And Spine Committee Since 2010.” Rhode Island Medical Journal (2013) 96.6 (2013): 43-46. MEDLINE. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

Mall, Nathan A., et al. “Spine And Axial Skeleton Injuries In The National Football League.” American Journal Of Sports Medicine 40.8 (2012): 1755-1761. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

Martinez, Mark. “Huge Concussion Hits in Football.” YouTube. YouTube, 14 Feb. 2011. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <;.

(NFL Concussions). “Pace of disclosed ‪@nfl concussions essentially unchanged over last season: we logged #100 on October 20 last year.” 27 Oct. 2014. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <;.

Oriard, Michael. Brand NFL, Pbk Ed. : Paperback Edition, With A New Preface By The Author Making And Selling America’s Favorite Sport. n.p.: The University of North Carolina Press, 2010. Project MUSE. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

RG3 ACL Tear. 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

“Severe NFL Injuries Escalating.” FOX Sports. 2 June 2014. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <;.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s