Playing Professional Football, But At What Cost?

Ryan McKean, Senior Multimedia Editor

After a routine tackle made by Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills safety suffered cardiac arrest during the first quarter of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2. 

There is more to the game of football than one may think. It is not just a game. What the world realized that fateful night is that every time a football player steps out onto the field, they fight for their lives. Now, how will Hamlin’s family cope with him almost dying? Also, fans need to realize that there are physical and mental challenges associated with the game that they will never fully understand by simply watching. 

Hamlin’s family had to witness his near-death experience on a football field, all while it was being televised nationally. Damar is very close with his family, so one cannot imagine how his family felt after witnessing this tragic event.

The incident has brought up many questions about the danger of football and if the game is really worth it. Players are risking their lives just to entertain fans and National Football League (NFL) owners. Yes, they do have a love for the game and want to put it all out there on the field, but at the end of the day, these players realize their health and safety come first.

The inconsistency of care for Dolphins Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has also sparked controversy regarding NFL safety. Around the fourth week of the NFL, Tua suffered a concussion that did not put him on the sideline. The same week he suffered another concussion, leading him to be sidelined for weeks. He soon returned for a couple of weeks until he got a concussion again, this time sidelining him for the rest of the season. This causes fans to question if the NFL really cares about players’ safety.

Former Arizona Cardinals player JJ Watt recently retired early since he decided to stop playing football as he realized it was not worth the risks and his family comes first. 

The dangers of football are not worth it. NFL players know that, and many make the sacrifice when they have to in certain situations. Players like Ryan Shazier, Andrew Luck and Luke Kuechly, all had to retire due to injuries or personal reasons. Many of these players realized that their lives held more importance than their sport because football doesn’t last forever, it is only a chapter of their lives. 

As of the present day, Hamlin has been released from the hospital, visited his teammates and is back on his feet. All signs point towards a speedy recovery. On Jan. 15, the Bills played the Miami Dolphins and he showed support for his team on social media.