January 13, 2019

Edgewood shouldn't invest in football

Andrew Ladd, Madison | Wisconsin State Journal

In all of the discussion about Edgewood High School's proposal for a new stadium, one elephant in the room has been overlooked. Why should any significant investment be made in a sport known to inflict long-term brain damage in players?

While the facility will be multi-sport, obviously football is the primary financial driver. The stadium will help Edgewood better compete for area students in a time of increasingly challenging enrollments. But well-established research shows football poses significant health risks that go beyond concussions to the repeated (and unavoidable) blows to the head.

To put this in context: Throw on a helmet and hit your head up against a wall for eight weeks straight. Then imagine a brain still in its development.

I say this as a parent of a former Edgewood student who received an excellent education. I say this as a former football player and once-avid fan: I cannot in good conscience support youth football knowing now the terrible risks.

Twenty years from now, football stadiums such as these will be a negative symbol of an era not yet ready to quit an unhealthy addiction. I would counsel Edgewood to commit its resources to finding a worthier emblem of its academic excellence.