The Truth About Contact Sports

The truth is, no matter how dangerous or toxic a sport can be to the human body, the desire and love for the game are more compelling than anything else. However, would athletes still interact in sports if they knew the consequences they would have to deal with long after retirement?

My goal is not to prevent or frighten athletes from playing the sport that they love. However, my goal is to open their eyes and inform them on the long term consequences long after retirement. Some sports bring a lot of baggage with them later on in life. Conceivably that is why athletes should take into consideration if it is worth putting their body through hits for only a short span of their lifetime. The average professional career is not longer than then years in any sport; so, having 50-70 years to live after a professional career might be worth thinking about. Is it worth letting your body take hits that you never can recover from for the rest of your life for only a fraction of your life? Have you thought of what you want to do after you have finished your professional career? Have you tried to see beyond your sports career, or can you only identify yourself as an athlete?

Now, let me reveal what I have been researching this week regarding concussions, an injury which I, like many other athlete’s have experienced.

I’ve concluded that athletes in certain sports are more prone to concussions, which they later on in life suffer tremendously from. Here is a list of sports where athletes suffer tremendously from concussions. 

  1. American Football (depending on the position played)
  2. Hockey
  3. Rugby
  4. Soccer
  5. Basketball

Then, I decided to look up what athletes have the longest and shortest careers on average and like I expected. Contact sports in specific all showed a shorter career span than athletes who compete in noncontact sports. 

Shortest – American Football (depending on the position played)
Longest – non contact sport golf or baseball (contact sports, on average 6.5 years and it stays between basketball, soccer, american football and hockey).

Lastly, I decided to look for what athletes have the healthiest and unhealthiest mind and body when competing at the professional level. As I once again expected, professional athletes with the right professional help managed to have a healthy career. I found no correlation between athletes playing a noncontact sport to have a healthier mind and body than athletes playing a contact sport. However, I found research showing a difference between team-, and individual sports. 

Healthiest – no specific sport, it solely depends on the athlete’s well being.
Unhealthiest – any sport that puts the athlete in situations where she/he is constantly bullied mentally and/or physically. Individual sports might seem more challenging for some because the athlete doesn’t have teammates to lean on, but that again depends on the individual.

So, what do I think? Do I still believe that putting my body through basketball and what comes with it is worth it in the long run? Absolutely, I am definitely going to have my body go through concussions and other injuries because we only live once, and we never know when our last day on this planet will be.

Movie time!

If you still believe that concussions aren’t as bad as breaking bones and tearing ligaments then perhaps this movie can change your opinion on that view.

Until next week, ask yourself if you are ready to do what it takes to get to where you want to be, which includes injuries.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Steve Ruis says:

    As usual, a thought provoking post! Regarding “I found no correlation between athletes playing a noncontact sport to have a healthier mind and body than athletes playing a contact sport. However, I found research showing a difference between team-, and individual sports. ”

    I am very, very interested in this topic and would love to read a post on it. I coach an individual sport (archery) and am frustrated by coaching resources that are team oriented and don’t even mention individual sports.


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