Athletes reflect on the safety risks of their sports


Benjamin Langevin

Junior quarterback Jackson Latour receives on-field medical attention from athletic trainers after a big hit.

It was a seemingly normal Monday night on Jan. 2. Students had just endured their first day back to school after the holiday break and many turned on their TVs to watch some NFL Monday Night Football. 

Many fans tuning into the Bills vs. Bengals game ended up witnessing something that no one could have expected to watch in their lifetime. Halfway through the first quarter, Bills safety Damar Hamlin had suffered a hit from Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. At first Hamlin seemed fine, but when the player fell back down after getting up, viewers could tell something was off. Hamlin then entered cardiac arrest on the field and had CPR performed on him, all while players and fans began to pray for the young player on live TV. 

As of now, Hamlin is making his recovery after being in critical condition, and his story made a significant impact on the sports world. In light of Hamlin’s injury, many people are beginning to ask a common question – why do athletes continue to play contact sports knowing the risks, whether they are life threatening or not? 

“I think [Hamlin] was just a freak accident, so I don’t really worry about that when I play,” said sophomore football safety Brady Manning. “We wear a lot of gear so we stay protected.”

Although this type of medical accident in particular is generally a rare occurrence, athletic gear isn’t always fully effective. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, usually referred to as CTE, is a brain condition endured after repeated hits to a player’s head. CTE is very common in football players despite how much helmets have technologically evolved since the dawn of the sport.

“I mean, you see it and then it’s just like, one of those crazy things,” said starting quarterback Jackson Latour. “…but it definitely motivates me to play.”

While some athletes continue to play their sport without hesitation, other contact sport athletes do worry about not being able to play due to injury and plan to be more cautious about their safety in the future. 

“Almost every time I worry,” said senior basketball player Myles Young. “It’s always like you want to play, but you’re always worried about falling on somebody or making the wrong move so that you won’t be able to play anymore.”