Parents, Concussions and the Good

Coach adjusts chin strap on player's football helmet during practice at Maryland Catholic high school.

Much has been written about concussions and football, about the long-term trauma caused by repeated head-to-head collisions. The concern has transcended football and raises major questions about the place of the game in American culture. Recent news from San Francisco may one day be seen as a turning point:

[Chris] Borland becomes the most prominent NFL player to leave the game in his prime because of concerns about brain injuries. More than 70 former players have been diagnosed with progressive neurological disease following their deaths, and numerous studies have shown connections between the repetitive head trauma associated with football, brain damage and issues such as depression and memory loss.

ESPN described Borland as one of the best rookies in the game last season. (See the full ESPN story here.)


I wonder how these stories will affect the game of football at the high school level in the years to come. It seems more and more parents are refusing to let their son play the game. Are you hearing the same? And what will this do to the sport in 20 or 30 years? If you're a parent, knowing what we know now about football and brain injuries, what is the ethical duty to keep your child out of the sport?

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Winni Veils
4 years ago
My sons are small, both in size and age. However, I have already explained to them that certain kinds of sports carry significant risk of brain damage and that I will not allow them to do those kinds of sports until the rules are changed to minimize the risk of such injury. Risks happen in every sport, but tackle football and boxing both seem to seek it out in a far higher incidence than others. My family also refuses to watch these sports on television. I don't want people injured for my entertainment. That said, it's not a big deal for me to say since I've never particularly enjoyed these sports. It could be a much higher sacrifice for others. I would say that if you refuse to let your child play a sport, it's not very ethical to financially support the sport that encourages other children to play. But that's just me.


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