Monday, October 30, 2017

Should we still play football in schools?

      Someday I think we will look back at schools including football in their athletic programs the way we now look at how we once accepted smoking in our workplaces.  How do we accept things that we know have a negative impact on our children's health?  In the past football was seen as a positive way to get physical benefit and teamwork skills.  It was acknowledged as building toughness and character in boys.  Now we know that it can have severe impacts on the development of the brains of boys that play the sport.  In my brief career in JV football I clearly remember the drills where we were instructed to "lead with our helmet" and let the other player "know why they shouldn't run in our direction."  For someone like myself who was outweighed by players I was tackling by 30 pounds encouraging hard collisions was something that struck me as just plain stupid.   I also remember my coach's comment after I quit football after injuring my knee.  The coach also coached the baseball team and made this comment to me when I showed up to play baseball.  " I hope you are tougher playing baseball than you were playing football."
      I am not advocating stopping youth football outside of the school settings although it is a mystery why any parent would encourages their children to play football with today's information.  But with the information we now have why are were sanctioning the continued playing of this sport by our publicly funded schools?  Can't the teamwork and physical exercise benefits be accomplished without the potential damage to young brains?


   Anyone watching the Ravens football game this past Thursday should think about the impact of the concussion to Joe Flacco.

This is what a concussed person looks like.

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