Arian Foster, running back for the Houston Texans, was removed from the PUP list on Tuesday, and back practicing with his teammates on Wednesday for the first time since late May.
Foster has battled injuries all his career, and this offseason was no different. In May, Foster strained his calf and was sidelined for the rest of OTAs. As he was recovering from this injury, he later developed stiffness and tightness in his back that kept him out of training camp and the team’s first two preseason games. He has now recovered from both injuries, but will still most likely miss both of the Texans’ remaining preseason games.
While talking to reporters on Wednesday, Foster declined to go into detail about his back injury. However, the Tennessee alum did acknowledge that he doesn’t think he’ll allow his children to play football, as he doesn’t want them to experience the pains of playing football that he has had to endure.
“I love the game and everything, but this hurts, man,” Foster said. “It’s a lot of work, man. Let Daddy put in the work so you can go study art or something.”
Foster’s mentality makes sense in some ways, as football is among the most dangerous sports in the world. According to a Loyola University study based on data from 2005, almost 1.5 million kids go to the ER every year just from basketball, biking and football accidents. An average of 100 kids die each year playing organized sports, and about half of these are cardiac arrests.
Concussions are a huge problem in the NFL right now as well, as many former players have claimed that concussions during their playing days have destroyed their post-football lives. According to the Sports Concussion Institute, football is the most common sport with concussion risk for males (75 percent chance for concussion).
Foster also seems to be forgetting a few things about football as well. If athletes are healthily involved in football (or any sport), it can help prevent obesity. Sports help you establish a community, and can help kids who would otherwise have trouble making friends to find them in their shared struggles on the field. And if you’re talented enough, playing sports can make you a lot of money.
But more importantly, Foster is taking it for granted that his kids will a) listen to him and not play football and b) that they’ll want to “study art or something.” If anything, Foster would do much more of a service to his kids, and kids around the country, if he’d take the good intentions of wanting to protect his kids and instead channel it into finding ways to make football safer.