Tuesday, August 23, 2011
PBS Frontline: "Football High", examines head injuries (even without concussions) and heat stroke for pressured high school players
PBS Frontline is airing a new one-hour documentary this evening, “Football High” Directed by Rachel Dretzin.
The film examines the culture of high school football, particularly in Arkansas and other southern states, including private “Christian” schools that run football “academies”. High school football is less regulated than college football (under the NCAA) and coaches are under intense pressure to win games. Players are drawn into football by social pressure and possible money, but there is something unhealthful about a heterosexist culture predicated on teenagers bulking to 300 pounds and entering a warrior mindset. After all, the medical world looks at lean, active, agile, and having low body mass index as healthful, but not in the football world.
Boys are showing signs of brain injury even without a history of concussion. The documentary also examines deaths from heat stroke (and brain injury from it – patients are put into medically induced comas). One of the schools examined is Shiloh.
This sort of culture was oppressive to me when I grew up. I avoided it and was sometimes regarded as chicken or cowardly. That still had a big influence on the rest of my life.
Here is the WETA link.
Here is the PBS Frontline link.