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Subject: Football and concussions rss

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Eric Knauer
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Quote:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/may/10/hall-fame-re...

Art Monk, the Hall of Fame wide receiver who played 14 seasons for the Washington Redskins, sued the NFL and helmet manufacturer Riddell, Inc. over “short term memory loss, headaches and speech difficulties” from multiple concussions sustained during his career.

Filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court, Monk is the lead plaintiff in the 82-page lawsuit that alleges the NFL failed to protect players “against the long-term brain injury risks associated with football-related concussions.”

Monk, inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008, is one of 63 plaintiffs. Two identical suits were filed in the court last week by a total of 193 ex-players.


Given the recent news about football, suicides, and concussions, I'm curious if you would allow your children to play football at this point considering the potential long-term brain damage. Any predictions on how this situation may end up resolving itself? Could a huge class action lawsuit harm the NFL by making it difficult to insure players?

Poll
Would you let your children play football?
Yes
No
      52 answers
Poll created by eknauer




 
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Eric Schiedler
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Some sports are as dangerous as football, Competition Cheerleading knocks out tons of girls, I believe (looking up stats...).

Edit: Cheerleading accounts for 67% of all female sport catastrophic injuries http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811200423.ht...

Letting your kid ride a horse could get them killed too.

God forbid they learn sailing and drown in the ocean.

Or drive a car and kill themselves ... fairly common.

Don't pay your kids dues to a fraternity, they'll kill them in an alcoholic hazing binge.

As far as football goes, it is far, far, far, far more likely they'll rip up their knee than end up brain-dead.

Edit. Here are the chances.
Overall football injuries
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070815154430.ht...
Catastrophic football Brain Injuries
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070703171622.ht...

Oh, and you can rip up your knee skiing and skateboarding too, so scratch those.

Yeah, kids are better off staying away from sports and ending up obese and playing boardgames. That way they won't die til they're 50.
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Dave G
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This would be a really tough call for me. I loved playing football. The camaraderie, the pride of being good at something, walking around school on Friday with the jersey on looking like a bad-ass, the satisfaction of a great trap block. I'd hate to deny my kids all those positives.

And yet. Forget just the head trauma. My ankles are trashed from playing on sprains every year. My wrists and hands are arthritic and sore already (and I'm only 32) from lifting weights all the time. All of that, and it wasn't like I was good--I mean, I was good enough to start for my high school team, but I wasn't All-anything and I wasn't good enough or big enough to play college ball. I did all this damage for four short years of enjoyment. It's a tough, tough call.
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eknauer wrote:
Quote:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/may/10/hall-fame-re...

Art Monk, the Hall of Fame wide receiver who played 14 seasons for the Washington Redskins, sued the NFL and helmet manufacturer Riddell, Inc. over “short term memory loss, headaches and speech difficulties” from multiple concussions sustained during his career.

Filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court, Monk is the lead plaintiff in the 82-page lawsuit that alleges the NFL failed to protect players “against the long-term brain injury risks associated with football-related concussions.”

Monk, inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008, is one of 63 plaintiffs. Two identical suits were filed in the court last week by a total of 193 ex-players.


Given the recent news about football, suicides, and concussions, I'm curious if you would allow your children to play football at this point considering the potential long-term brain damage. Any predictions on how this situation may end up resolving itself? Could a huge class action lawsuit harm the NFL by making it difficult to insure players?

Poll
Would you let your children play football?
Yes
No
      52 answers
Poll created by eknauer






My little guy (click the profile) is 11 months old. 31 inches tall, standing. 25 lbs.

"Oh, he's gonna play football... he's gonna be a linebacker." I hear as I see him pay attention to the one thing on TV he's ever watched...football. (seriously doesn't care what's on TV, except green and red football teams)

I'm thinking that Dad is going to switch to paying attention to soccer very quickly.

It's not that injuries don't happen anywhere else. They do. But the amount of head trauma we're talking here is staggering.

Sports are sports. Head trauma is head trauma.

EDIT: And I have a problem with the NCAA making the money it does on the backs of college students.
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Ken
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Were I to have built the poll, I would have included "Only if they were really, really into it."

I've encouraged all my kids to play a team sport - learning to compete as a part of a team and individually is good. But it ultimately comes down to having fun. I've tried to steer my son away from football due to the potential for injury, partly because my father was a very, very good athlete who has shoulder problems now from his days in football. My son's chosen baseball and is both enjoying it and working hard at it. But it's not as though that sport is without risk, particularly because he pitches (every year, a couple of young pitchers get seriously injured or killed due to comebackers).

If he really, really wanted to play football, I'd probably acquiesce. I'm glad I don't need to make that choice.
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Dave G
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perfalbion wrote:
Were I to have built the poll, I would have included "Only if they were really, really into it."

I've encouraged all my kids to play a team sport - learning to compete as a part of a team and individually is good. But it ultimately comes down to having fun. I've tried to steer my son away from football due to the potential for injury, partly because my father was a very, very good athlete who has shoulder problems now from his days in football. My son's chosen baseball and is both enjoying it and working hard at it. But it's not as though that sport is without risk, particularly because he pitches (every year, a couple of young pitchers get seriously injured or killed due to comebackers).

If he really, really wanted to play football, I'd probably acquiesce. I'm glad I don't need to make that choice.


If he's good, and he would play at Central or PR, then you should definitely discourage him. If he's good and he would play at South, you need to lighten up and let him have fun. devil
 
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David C
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perfalbion wrote:
Were I to have built the poll, I would have included "Only if they were really, really into it."

I've encouraged all my kids to play a team sport - learning to compete as a part of a team and individually is good. But it ultimately comes down to having fun. I've tried to steer my son away from football due to the potential for injury, partly because my father was a very, very good athlete who has shoulder problems now from his days in football. My son's chosen baseball and is both enjoying it and working hard at it. But it's not as though that sport is without risk, particularly because he pitches (every year, a couple of young pitchers get seriously injured or killed due to comebackers).

If he really, really wanted to play football, I'd probably acquiesce. I'm glad I don't need to make that choice.


Yeah, football isn't like going to war or anything. I would like it if he would choose something else if he were to choose... but as far as dangerous activities and stuff I don't want him to do, it's far down the list.

 
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
If he's good, and he would play at Central or PR, then you should definitely discourage him. If he's good and he would play at South, you need to lighten up and let him have fun. devil


His sport's baseball, so it's not a choice I need to worry about. I do think about moving him to PR since they've got the best baseball program in town, but then that also reduces his chances of getting lots of reps and he's taking lessons from one of their coaches.
 
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Dave G
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perfalbion wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
If he's good, and he would play at Central or PR, then you should definitely discourage him. If he's good and he would play at South, you need to lighten up and let him have fun. devil


His sport's baseball, so it's not a choice I need to worry about. I do think about moving him to PR since they've got the best baseball program in town, but then that also reduces his chances of getting lots of reps and he's taking lessons from one of their coaches.


They opened PR my senior year of high school. We were all jealous of how nice the facilities there are.
 
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David C
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eschiedler wrote:
Some sports are as dangerous as football, Competition Cheerleading knocks out tons of girls, I believe (looking up stats...).

Edit: Cheerleading accounts for 67% of all female sport catastrophic injuries http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811200423.ht...


You have to talk about odds and severity here. There comes a point at which the risk/reward is no longer acceptable.

The links you posted only talk about 'catastrophic' injury. What the NFL is getting sued over, are things where the injuries really don't manifest until 20-30 years later.

The bad knees and bad shoulders talked about in this thread, do you suppose those are recorded by any study group?

...and last but not least, saying that bad knees happen more often or that cheerleading is worse, doesn't make anything more acceptable.
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Chad Ellis
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eschiedler wrote:
Some sports are as dangerous as football, Competition Cheerleading knocks out tons of girls, I believe (looking up stats...).

Edit: Cheerleading accounts for 67% of all female sport catastrophic injuries http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811200423.ht...

Letting your kid ride a horse could get them killed too.

God forbid they learn sailing and drown in the ocean.

Or drive a car and kill themselves ... fairly common.

Don't pay your kids dues to a fraternity, they'll kill them in an alcoholic hazing binge.

As far as football goes, it is far, far, far, far more likely they'll rip up their knee than end up brain-dead.

Edit. Here are the chances.
Overall football injuries
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070815154430.ht...
Catastrophic football Brain Injuries
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070703171622.ht...

Oh, and you can rip up your knee skiing and skateboarding too, so scratch those.

Yeah, kids are better off staying away from sports and ending up obese and playing boardgames. That way they won't die til they're 50.


I've never understood this line of reasoning. Sure, all sorts of things have the potential for injury. Some have a greater potential or a greater potential for serious injury. I ride a bike, but I wear my helmet. Is it silly for me to wear a helmet since both "riding a bike with a helmet" and "riding a bike with no helmet" have some chance of serious injury? My kids go on a boat but they wear life jackets -- there's still risk, but there's less risk and in particular there's less risk that they'll drown.

Football involves regularly slamming oneself into other people. That's incredibly damaging when you're talking about professionals (how long is an average linebacker's career?). I don't know enough about how dangerous it is for kids. My gut reaction is that I'd allow it at a kid level but I'd check the data first. And if the data shows that it's a lot more dangerous than other sports then I'll insist that they choose a different sport.
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Brian
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I mean, is head trauma really a problem with all football? Or really just at the level of the NFL? I know that's where the publicity is in any case.

Anyways, I can't say I'd turn my kid away from football if he wanted to, I'd much rather hockey myself... But that's probably just as dangerous for children.

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Eric Knauer
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Found this 60 Minutes piece from 2009.



I'd be curious if this changes anyone's "yes" answers to "no".
 
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Dane Peacock
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Interesting, I just got home from practice...

I coach youth football just about all year round. I coach flag in the spring (sometimes two teams) and tackle in the fall. This spring, my team finished the season with one loss. We start the playoffs this coming Saturday as the 3rd seed of 16 teams. GO DA BEARS!

I have seven brothers. All have been high school football coaches in Idaho, Utah, or Nevada. Two are currently head coaches (Cedar Redmen and Malad Dragons) and two are defensive coordinators. Can you guess what we do at Thanksgiving and family reunions?

My oldest son played one year of youth football and his freshman year in high school, and then switched to soccer. My youngest son (11) has played a couple of years of flag football, he liked it ok, but he has no desire at all to play tackle. My middle son (13) loves football. I mean he craves it. He even loves practices, something I never did. On the rare days that we don't practice or play he begs me to go out and play with him one on one.

I played too. I received scholarship offers from various schools. I was recruited by Norm Chow under Lavell Edwards and nearly signed with BYU. Life circumstances changed that. I ended up playing for a Jr. College with a full ride scholarship. (How's that for my Al Bundy - glory years moment?)

So, concussions...

All of the years I played, I never missed a game. I had various injuries including dislocations and fluid on the knees. I received what might be considered one concussion. I was knocked silly. Of course back then they didn't even check it. I have had other concussions outside of sports. I have no lingering injuries or pain.

My own children have had no serious injuries in sports, unless you include red-rover as a sport. My middle son received a concussion from playing capture the flag one night when his big brother kneed him in the temple. In 1st grade, my daughter fell back and hit her head, cracking her skull, while playing red-rover. So my family has received more concussions from "just being kids" than from organized sports.

Some of my brothers have had high school kids on their teams that received serious injuries.

Where I live, for youth and high school tackle season there is now a very strict policy on head injuries. They don't mess around anymore. All coaches must go through intensive training before the season. It helps a bit on prevention (proper tackling techniques, etc.) and helps a lot on keeping kids off the field with any signs of head injuries. It hasn't always been this way.

My tackle teams have been lucky in that I have never had a kid with a serious injury. However, in flag football, I had a girl fall awkwardly and break her arm. I still feel badly about it.

How do I feel about it? Well, I love football. I love to play it, coach it, and watch it at just about every level. It would take several posts to detail some very special moments that football has provided in my kid's lives.

I am concerned for my kids; both my own and the kids on my teams. When my oldest boy chose soccer over football, I was not disappointed at all. I was proud and never missed a game or match or whatever, and it helped me to learn and appreciate soccer. My youngest boy doesn't like football. He loves art and has great drawing skills (don't know where that comes from). I make special effort to spend time with him in what he likes to do, because of the time I put into football.

I would never blame parents who choose to keep their kids out of football. I would blame parents for forcing kids that do not want to play into playing football. Despite all the good that can come from it, It is not for everyone.

If I took football away from my middle boy, I think he would die. At the very least, it would tear his heart out and change him. It all comes down to risks vs. rewards. I know from experience that the rewards from a football season can be unbelievable. So many awesome life lessons can be gained in such a relatively short amount of time. Confidence, friendships, growth, teamwork, numerous virtues, discipline and self control, rising above your perceived limits, and especially the fun and memories.

Just living life to the fullest presents risks, and I never want for my kids to live in fear. Some risks in life are worth it, and I think sports and football are well worth it.
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I knew I liked that Dane guy.
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bippi wrote:
eknauer wrote:
Quote:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/may/10/hall-fame-re...

Art Monk, the Hall of Fame wide receiver who played 14 seasons for the Washington Redskins, sued the NFL and helmet manufacturer Riddell, Inc. over “short term memory loss, headaches and speech difficulties” from multiple concussions sustained during his career.

Filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court, Monk is the lead plaintiff in the 82-page lawsuit that alleges the NFL failed to protect players “against the long-term brain injury risks associated with football-related concussions.”

Monk, inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008, is one of 63 plaintiffs. Two identical suits were filed in the court last week by a total of 193 ex-players.


Given the recent news about football, suicides, and concussions, I'm curious if you would allow your children to play football at this point considering the potential long-term brain damage. Any predictions on how this situation may end up resolving itself? Could a huge class action lawsuit harm the NFL by making it difficult to insure players?

Poll
Would you let your children play football?
Yes
No
      52 answers
Poll created by eknauer






My little guy (click the profile) is 11 months old. 31 inches tall, standing. 25 lbs.

"Oh, he's gonna play football... he's gonna be a linebacker." I hear as I see him pay attention to the one thing on TV he's ever watched...football. (seriously doesn't care what's on TV, except green and red football teams)

I'm thinking that Dad is going to switch to paying attention to soccer very quickly.

It's not that injuries don't happen anywhere else. They do. But the amount of head trauma we're talking here is staggering.

Sports are sports. Head trauma is head trauma.

EDIT: And I have a problem with the NCAA making the money it does on the backs of college students.


Soccer has a lot of head trauma.
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/soccer.html
Quote:
What a game! Where else do people use their heads to bounce balls going 100 kilometers/hour?

Brain Damage
A Norwegian study found that 35% of 69 Division I soccer players had abnormal electroencephalogram (EEG) patterns. This is more than twice the rate of abnormal EEG patterns in control subjects. Retired soccer players had several brain abnormalities including reduced cortical tissue and increased lateral ventricle size.
Neuropsychological Effects
Soccer players also seem to perform more poorly than control subjects on some types of IQ tests and many former players (81%) suffer from problems with attention, concentration, and memory. Players who typically head the ball have also been found to have more neurological problems than non-headers. Compared to goalies and midfielders ("non-headers"), forwards and defenders ("headers") performed more poorly on some memory, visual perception and planning tests.


I think soccer players should probably wear helmets.
The brain damage here echos the football players shooting themselves in the chest so they can be autopsied for brain damage.

IMHO, football injuries are greatly worsened by the excessively heavy weights it has trended towards. If players were limited to 250 pounds (heck- 220 pounds), then the game would be more like it used to be, injuries would be less frequent and intense- probably more entertaining too.

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Jon M
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Wearing a helmet won't help. A helmet protects against trauma.

Wearing a helmet would exacerbate long term brain damage.

This sort of damage is caused by the brain splatting into the skull. Wearing a helmet increases the mass and the energy so more brain splatting from wearing a helmet.
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Against all logic, playing without helmets and with softer (i.e not hard plastic) pads would probably decrease had injuries.
 
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Football (soccer?, head injuries? What on earth are you talking about?

Great goal tough.
 
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I enjoyed sports a lot. In my case it was ultimate frisbee.
It's fairly non-contact but in 25 years of 3 hours a week play I saw one concussion, one broken thumb, many blown out knees, lots of road rash.

Any physical activity risks injury. I don't have a problem with people (including my grandkids) playing sports and having a risk of injury.

I just want to avoid unnecessary, excessive risks.

But even then, if people are educated on the risks of heading the ball and they still want to do it and know it's going to lower their IQ and damage their brain, then I'm for their freedom to live life fully and do that.

If it is done professionally, then the people making money off of it need to set money aside for the players.

If there are easy, mild changes which can be made to reduce the risk then do it.

On the "heading the ball" helmet, I see your point but I have to wonder if some kind of padding wouldn't reduce the risk even if it didn't eliminate it.
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Eric Knauer
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maxo-texas wrote:
I enjoyed sports a lot. In my case it was ultimate frisbee.
It's fairly non-contact but in 25 years of 3 hours a week play I saw one concussion, one broken thumb, many blown out knees, lots of road rash.

Any physical activity risks injury. I don't have a problem with people (including my grandkids) playing sports and having a risk of injury.

I just want to avoid unnecessary, excessive risks.

But even then, if people are educated on the risks of heading the ball and they still want to do it and know it's going to lower their IQ and damage their brain, then I'm for their freedom to live life fully and do that.



I agree adults should be able to decide but considering the early damage that can occur (see 60 Minutes piece) I wonder if it may eventually be considered reckless endangerment of a child if future studies confirm the high probability of brain damage. Obviously, there is a spectrum of risk ranging from golf to bare knuckle, mixed martial arts. Where football falls on this spectrum is yet to be determined.
 
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eknauer wrote:
I agree adults should be able to decide but considering the early damage that can occur (see 60 Minutes piece) I wonder if it may eventually be considered reckless endangerment of a child if future studies confirm the high probability of brain damage. Obviously, there is a spectrum of risk ranging from golf to bare knuckle, mixed martial arts. Where football falls on this spectrum is yet to be determined.


If even one of the lawsuits that have been filed wins, I would not be surprised if high school football programs didn't die (due to liability issues) or involve such a massive number of waivers that parents started to question why more carefully.

But I think it's important to keep in mind that it's often the parents that are stupid. The number of 16 & 17 year olds that are getting Tommy John surgery from pitching in youth programs is positively shocking. And the parents don't seem to be thinking much about their children - they'll allow their kids to play in multiple leagues, pitch in back-to-back games in different leagues, and throw breaking pitches even though they have no earthly idea if the kid's mechanics are good. I've read stories about kids who are basically done playing baseball at that age because they've been on two different travel teams pitching 100 or so pitches a game 3-5 times a week. That is ludicrously stupid.

As I said earlier, if my son really wanted to play competitive football, I'd probably let him do it. But if he were injured, then he wouldn't be playing until a doctor cleared him no matter what the coach or anyone else wanted him to do. It's one thing to let him have a good time, it's quite another to allow "being competitive" to cause lasting harm at such a young age.

For the record - I coach pitchers primarily in our league. I will teach them breaking pitches but they will only get called from the dugout, they will be strictly limited in terms of number per game, and I try to keep our pitchers under 80 pitches/game. But we've played against teams that let their pitchers throw 130+ pitches (the league doesn't use pitch count, but innings, which I hate). I only hope that if these kids want to play in high school, college, or later their arms are up to it.

Sports for kids should be about fun, healthy competition, physical activity, and physical skills. We (parents) often let it become more about winning and losing, which is stupid, unnecessary, and probably does more damage than good (both physically and emotionally).
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eknauer wrote:
maxo-texas wrote:
I enjoyed sports a lot. In my case it was ultimate frisbee.
It's fairly non-contact but in 25 years of 3 hours a week play I saw one concussion, one broken thumb, many blown out knees, lots of road rash.

Any physical activity risks injury. I don't have a problem with people (including my grandkids) playing sports and having a risk of injury.

I just want to avoid unnecessary, excessive risks.

But even then, if people are educated on the risks of heading the ball and they still want to do it and know it's going to lower their IQ and damage their brain, then I'm for their freedom to live life fully and do that.



I agree adults should be able to decide but considering the early damage that can occur (see 60 Minutes piece) I wonder if it may eventually be considered reckless endangerment of a child if future studies confirm the high probability of brain damage. Obviously, there is a spectrum of risk ranging from golf to bare knuckle, mixed martial arts. Where football falls on this spectrum is yet to be determined.


Any sport carries the risk of serious or life-changing injury. So does any kind of play. My brother broke his nose three times and shattered his eye socket once playing baseball. My most serious high school injury came on the wrestling mat, not the football field. (I separated a rib from my sternum. If you can avoid it, don't ever do that. Trust me.)

My kids are welcome to play any sport they want.* Some are riskier than others, sure, but I would have a hard time forbidding them from playing football if that was the thing they really, really wanted to do. I mean, it's reckless endangerment of a kid's social life to let them join the school band, but no one talks about banning that, right?

*Except soccer. I fucking hate soccer. No kid of mine is wearing fucking shinguards, I tell ya…**

**I reserve the right to be totally overruled on this if my daughter really wants to play soccer, but I'm hoping she's into more interesting sports. Like sitting still, or sleeping, or watching grass grow.
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
I mean, it's reckless endangerment of a kid's social life to let them join the school band, but no one talks about banning that, right?


One of the things that I've been very, very happy with about our school district is that they've built an environment where band/chorus/drama/arts don't endanger one's social life. That's partly due to featuring them just about as prominently and partly the atmosphere the administration creates.

Districts can do a lot to prevent this problem, and really should.
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perfalbion wrote:


As I said earlier, if my son really wanted to play competitive football, I'd probably let him do it. But if he were injured, then he wouldn't be playing until a doctor cleared him no matter what the coach or anyone else wanted him to do. It's one thing to let him have a good time, it's quite another to allow "being competitive" to cause lasting harm at such a young age.


This. This for sure. I played an entire season with a broken hand and finger once because "you're either hurt, or you're injured. Every football player plays hurt, because we're not pussies. If you're injured, go sit on the bench with the water boys in street clothes and let me work on the guys who want to play." Or so the athletic trainer told me--that's the adult who was in charge of tending to our injuries, mind you, and theoretically responsible for directing us to seek medical care when we needed it.

Now I have a ring finger that points jauntily off to one side because the knuckle healed in a twist and that hand cramps up from something as simple as holding a pencil for too long. That injury wouldn't have mattered if I'd gone to our athletic trainer and he'd said "listen, tough guy, you're done for the year unless your doctor says you can play." Instead I taped it up with some extra padding inside my glove and played the whole season.

If you're a pro athlete and you want to play "hurt" that's your prerogative. Kids should never be allowed to make that choice for themselves without leaving it to the parents or a doctor. A teenager isn't concerned about whether they'll be able to take a break to massage their hand out of a cramp every time they wash the dinner dishes ten years later. They think they're invincible.
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