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American Football – Passion

over PAIN?
Wednesday 23rd November 2016, 5:33pm

DMU American Footballer takes 4 months out of practice due to a

broken neck.

DMU Falcons Logo

Every year football fans get ready for the annual Super Bowl championship game. Ruthless
football players collide into each other, attempting to stop their opponent from scoring the
winning touchdown with over 111 million people watching worldwide.
American Football has always been the most popular sport in the US and is progressively making a
breakthrough in the UK. The National Football League (NFL) is the highest professional level of
American Football in the world and is one of the largest profit-making businesses.

Yet many people including columnist Dave Bry question the dangers of the sport and how the injuries
can be life threatening.

American footballer, Jack Palmer, 20, has broken multiple bones while playing at a local club in
Leicester and at De Montfort University, Leicester, for the DMU Falcon.
“I’ve broken my wrist a few times, the first when I was 15 years old, my ankle and then the worst
being my neck in December 2015 playing with DMU” says Palmer.

Jack Palmer DMU Falcons vs Leicester Longhorns 2016
“I got hit in the back of the neck while trying to tackle someone, and as they hit me, I was hit again on
the side of the neck” Said Palmer. This consequently resulted In Palmer breaking his neck and taking
4 months out of training.

The sport is considered appealing to youths because they are able to tackle other players at a high
impact, arguably it is less dangerous compared to rugby, because of the protective pads and helmet.

American Football has become popular in the UK, as a result of The British Universities American
Football League founded in 2007 (BUAFL). As part of the British Universities and Colleges Sport
organisation, BUAFL is an American Football league where University teams compete in the UK.

DMU Falcons are one of the teams to compete in the Tier 2 divisions alongside Universities such as,
the Coventry Jets, Leicester Longhorns and Northampton Nemesis.
Palmer first got involved in American Football 5 years ago, when he joined a local club called the
Leicester Falcons, formed in 2006. The DMU Falcons were first established in 2011. The Falcons
were a joint team with University of Leicester Longhorns, but changes to The British Universities
American Football League (BUAFL) resulted in the team creating their own at DMU.

“I’d tried loads of other sports and never really enjoyed them, and I thought it looked pretty cool”
explained Palmer.

DMU Falcons vs Leicester Longhorn

The helmets and padding should protect the players from impact encouraging players to use immense
force when tackling others. The film ‘Concussion’ (2015) starring Will Smith, examined the dangers
of American Football and the severe head concussions some players can and have experienced.
A former American footballer, Dave Duerson donated his brain for research on Chronic Traumatic
Encephalopathy (CTE) a progressive degenerative disease in the brain. CTE is common among
former American Footballers.
Rugby players have to learn a lot about head protection as they do not wear helmets, their tackling
technique is to keep their head to the side, using their arms and shoulders to grab the opponent’s legs.
“There are loads of different things about tackling I had to learn before I was even allowed to put pads
on. There are different tactics and techniques constantly being developed to keep everything safe, you
have to follow the rules of the game and the instructions given by the coaches” Says Palmer.

The dangers of youths playing the sport is a cause for concern because of the injury’s players sustain.
Palmer said medically he is fit to continue to play the sport, yet injuring his neck has increased the
risk of suffering from a major injury which could be life changing.

Palmer has already experienced severe injuries yet is feeling optimistic about the sport and
encourages other students to become a DMU Falcon, despite its dangers.

“It’s a great sport and it has a lot of opportunities to grow. There are a numerous amount of sports that
can cause injury, but I believe you should do what you love and enjoy” says Palmer.