Parents! Should Kids Be Allowed To Play Football?

With the waning of summer and the leaves tinged with a faint color,tis the season for the kids to get their spokes and go for the football. For the past many decades, football has been the annual rite of fall. Since the sport has realized that it can make money (which is the name of the game) various Pop Warner teams as young as eight have cropped up all over the country. While parents sit in the stands and get a laugh of their pee wee sized kids running the wrong way, or dropping the ball in mid flight.It’s all in fun, the sounds of helmets popping, the thump of the football, well to most parents, the game is great fun not only for the kids but for the parents  who encourage them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     While the sport can be fun for all. It has some very eye opening problems. First, I have talked to orthopedic doctors who are reporting injuries to young players that equal their pro counterparts. ACL’s,ankle injuries, hip injuries and, the most prevelant, concussions. The pro sports has had  publicity of it’s own with brain CTE injuries that have been the supposed cause of the suicide death of  Junior Seau. There are those experts who have told me that the bizzare actions of OJ Simpson the great running back of the Buffalo Bills was caused by numerous hits to the head over time. Brett Favre the Packers brilliant Hall of Fame quarterback has experienced memory problems. Otis Taylor the KC Chiefs wide receiver is being fed by his sister and cannot walk. The names can continue here, unfortunately, we don’t have enough writing space to list all  of the former football players who have had mental issues as well as brain injuries.Moreover, we are experiencing head trauma at the earliest age of football players. The study on CTE injuries is just getting going and until now, we had no way of knowing what brain deterioration takes place since a person with CTE could only be known of the disease after death. Constant trauma to the head is responsible for the brain to deteriorate said one neurologist to me. The skeletal system in most children does not come to full form until about the age of seventeen. Therefore, injuries to young growth plates is not uncommon. Football, offers an array of injuries and the body taking constant hits as well as to the head, well, the long range outlook is not good. The great Hall of Famer Alex Wojchieowitz of the Philadelphia Eagles told me when I asked him, “Would you play the game again if you know now what you didn’t know then” Almost immediately, Alex retorted to me. ” No f—— way” During our interview, he had to cancel twice as he mentioned that he couldn’t get out of bed as he was in constant pain from various arthritic problems caused by football.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In conclusion, while  the game of football is a great sport., Vince Lombardi once told his players, ” This is a great profession you are in . Be proud of what you are and what you stand for. Now go out and play this game the way I know you can play it” Sadly, most players who have gone the route of their “great profession” are disabled in many ways. Julius Erving while playing basketball, after his retirement had to soak his legs for an hour each night because of the pain he endured as a player. Many of the former players of the 60’s who are now senior citizens are disabled with no help. One player told me who walked with a very severe limp, “football did this to me”. While I am not professing that you shouldn’t have your kids play football, I am experienced enough at this to know that football HAS been the reason for many head problems as well as  dealing with playing injuries late in life. I’m not saying your kids shouldn’t play, but it is imperative in my mind that parents should research the vast documentation that exists on youth injuries and head trauma’s in particular. it will be one of the most important decisions you will make in your young child’s life.

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