About 1,000,000 high school students are due to begin tackle football practice later this summer, many in hopes of one day overcoming the odds to play in college or the pros. While football offers many positive benefits, the traumatic head injuries and long-term orthopedic problems suffered by thousands of former football players have recently gained widespread media attention. Some former professional football players have publicly criticized the safety of the sport, one even going so far as to say it’s more dangerous than boxing. Amateur football organizations have begun initiatives intended to reduce the risks, including a program called “Heads Up Football” which is intended to reduce the number of traumatic brain injuries by providing training to coaching staff and players. However, many parents and athletes may still seek other options, particularly those who are not standouts in football and those who have already experienced athletic injuries in the past. Below are ten sports that athletes may want to consider as safer alternatives to tackle football. Also listed are the relevant sporting organizations to contact if no opportunities exist at your school. While at first glance they may not seem to have all the glamor of Friday night football games, most of them are contested in the Summer Olympics. They offer their athletes the opportunity to compete at the regional or national levels for decades after leaving school. You don’t necessarily have to “suit up for the last time” just because you’re graduating this year.
Archery: Contact: USA Archery
Badminton: Contact: USA Badminton.
Bowling. Contact: US Bowling Congress.
Cycling. Contact: USA Cycling.
Fencing. Contact: USA Fencing.
Golf. Contact: American Junior Golf Association.
Squash. Contact: US Squash.
Swimming. Contact: USA Swimming
Table Tennis. Contact: USA Table Tennis.
Tennis. Contact: US Tennis Association.