Syracuse (WSYR-TV/ABC News) - On autumn nights across the country, Friday night lights go up and the nation’s high school football teams meet on the grid iron.
But one doctor claims that the game is too dangerous for young men to play and that it should be banned.
A school board member in Dover, NH, Dr. Paul Butler recently advanced the idea in his district.
Other people in the community viewed it as a challenge to what is largely considered a national institution.
Butler is retired from the medical practice and he is a former high school and college football player himself. But Butler says the Dover Green Wave team has to go.
“The literature is clear. This is a dangerous game for children to be playing,” Butler said.
He cites the current lawsuit by former NFL players against the league, saying it hadn't adequately warned them of the risks of long-term brain damage associated with playing the game. ESPN sports science says the big hits that characterize the sport can be equivalent to taking a sledge hammer to the head.
“A game that uses the head as a battering ram is not a smart game to allow a youngster to play,” Butler said.
National talk show host Rush Limbaugh derided the football critics calling them, “pantywaists who want to try to take the risk out of everything in life.”
Some people in the Dover community are similarly contemptuous of the proposal.
“How far is the nanny state going to go... are they going to wrap us all in the bubble wrap?” one critic said.
But those like Dr. Butler maintain the facts are on their side, especially when studies show that kids who play high school football and even peewee league football are exposing themselves to the dangers of head trauma.