I've written about my relationship with football in the past. You can check my badged posts for something people liked on there when I was ranting.
But one of the big aspects of playing football for a lot of people is a sad one that you see often: poverty.
As much as we'd like to see it as the allure of fame and fortune, many communities have football as central to life, and when living in poor neighborhoods, it's seen as the only way to get out. Too poor for college? Football scholarship. Don't have the grades? Football. It's also something that, if you're good enough, can absolutely gain you enough money to save yourself and your family. In more candid moments from players and ex-players, you'll hear them talk about knowing that they're sacrificing their minds and bodies for the insurance that they, their kids, and their parents will be provided for.
This isn't to say that a large percentage of them don't enjoy it, just that if they had the opportunities as kids, or perhaps some more perspective into how dangerous it is, they probably would have done something else if they could. It's not a coincidence that you'll find a socioeconomic divide from different positions. People from more comfortable upbringings usually are QBs. They take the least damage. Those from comfortable upbringings that played more hard-hitting positions eventually leave young, because they have that option. When you're good at linebacker and you're poor, and it's your only choice, you stick with it.
I truly believe the more information about the harm, the better. The more it's spread, the less people will consider playing. I believe the sport is already starting its demise and I celebrate it. It needs to go. Forcing it won't work, it has to be through people slowly understanding that it's fucked up, and I speak as someone who has considered themselves a fan. I still do in many ways. But I fear that the mass of people won't truly begin to examine that until a death occurs on field at the professional level. And I'm terrified knowing that moment is at the point of occurring. It's just going to me one freak mistake in the next few years.
(Extremely important to note the sad fact that many, many high school football players have died on field in the last few years. At one point this year, one had died every week for at least the first six weeks of the traditional season.