In football, “decleating” an opponent – to knock them off their feet — is often cheered just as loud as a touchdown, and can just as quickly energize a team. But a big hit elicits a notably different type of response: not the pure jubilant applause that follows a score, big gain or third-down stop, but a sound that’s an expression of morbid entertainment as it is rooted in cheering — an appreciation of violent athleticism flexed between competitors.
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Zach Guiser has enjoyed life since he left football in 2017, ending his college career early because of concussions. But the sport isn’t far from his mind. “I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss it,” the Greensburg Central Catholic graduate said. He was a fifth-year senior at University of Akron when he realized one more crushing hit, one more glancing blow to his head, could damage his brain to a point of no return.
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Football is synonymous with touchdowns and, of course, tackles — which sometime result in injuries. Among high school athletes, 71.5% of concussions are because of a football injury, said Ginger Yang, an associate professor of pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “Parents so often think you can get up, shake it off, be tough, get back in there … And it just isn’t so,” said Stephanie Ramsey, president of the Brain Injury Association of Ohio based in Cincinnati.
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With a racing heart but steady nerves, he crouches in his stance 3 yards behind the quarterback. The play is set in motion, and he takes the handoff. He sprints through a hole in the line and into the open field. He is running free, until a shadow out of the corner of his eye emerges.
Read more at madison.com.