Target: Bob Gardner, Executive Director, National Federation of State High School Associations
Goal: Increase the safety standards of what’s considered a legal high school football tackle to prevent unnecessary death.
In September alone, two high school players have died from being tackled on the football field–young, talented lives snuffed out by a sport that encourages men to pound each other brutally into the ground. During the tender teenage years, a young man’s body is not fully developed. Consequently, he cannot handle the rough play seen at the college and professional level. We must stop treating our high school athletes as if they are pro; they are not even out of puberty yet.
While the media is claiming the injuries that took the lives of the Louisiana and New Jersey football players were caused by a “freak” accident, the fact remains both young men died from being tackled. We see the injuries on TV when watching college and pro games, and those are gruesome enough. Imagine a 15-year-old’s body trying to handle the force of that impact. A younger body does not have the muscle or weight to cushion the impact. These are not “freak” accidents; these are cases of teenagers playing as adults.
The pressure from coaches and parents encourages these young players to fight to the finish, despite subjecting their bodies to punishment they are too young to take. These children are treated as if they are adults when, physiologically, they are not. We must revamp high school football and make it a lower impact sport. Sign our petition to demand that tackling rules in high school games are changed to soften the blow on all bodies. Otherwise, we will lose more precious teenage life for the good of a simple game.
Dear Mr. Gardner,
The deaths of two football players in September is certainly a sign that this sport needs some serious revamping at the high school level. There is no excuse for endangering the lives of teenage boys by allowing coaches, officials and even parents to encourage high school players to play the game as if they were professionals. These young men are not old enough to subject their bodies to such a high-impact sport.
Although these deaths are being called “freak accidents,” it’s clear the high school players are emulating the rough play they see on TV, and it is your responsibility to ensure that the games are being adequately policed by coaches and officials to discourage such blunt force tackling. These boys are not men. Physiologically, they are still boys. Their bodies are still developing and cannot withstand the blunt force trauma the defensive tackles are apparently allowed to make. The deaths speak for themselves.
It’s time to revamp football rules at the high school level. There is no need for such rough play, and it is evident that current play is dangerous to the point of being deadly. Do not allow another young life to be needlessly taken away from us. Review and revise high school football rules to make it a safer sport for the young bodies playing it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Johntex