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August 21, 2013
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Think twice before trying out for football this fall

Think twice before trying out for football this fall

School is about to start and I’m making one more plea to parents. Last year I wrote a letter stating that kids, and the parents who let them, were “being foolish” if they played contact football. The knowledge about concussion danger was well established, with the effects often not showing until 10 to 20 years later.

A rebuttal letter stated that I had “concern borne out of ignorance,” due to the benefits of football, such as camaraderie, manhood building, a “path out of poverty,” etc.

That letter (patronizing nonsense) didn’t even warrant a response. “Paths out of poverty” to the pro level are extremely rare. Camaraderie, “manhood building,” etc., can be found in many other less dangerous sports. Sure, you can fall while mountain biking, but that is an accident. In football, that 230-pound linebacker has the specific intention to grab your vulnerable body and drive you into the ground!

Since my letter, I’ve seen numerous detailed news stories about football brain injury and its victims. Some died instantly on the field, and some had permanent brain damage that didn’t reveal itself until many years later.

Now, the latest thing is an expensive new helmet with high-tech sensors inside that measure head trauma. Coaches can monitor the readings and examine players if they exceed a certain level. Question: Is this really what you want your kid to be doing? Are you just going to hope his readings don’t exceed some limit? Are you just going to hope he doesn’t develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy?

Every time he gets his bell rung, he’s adding to the chance that 10 to 20 years from now he may have trouble remembering who you are.

Not to mention the possibility of instant death, which just happened to a high school player in Georgia (broken neck).

All I’m saying is, lay all the cards on the table and have a serious discussion about the risks involved.

Football can be fun and exciting to watch, but fans in the stadium risk nothing … unless their children are on the field.

Gregg Littell

Auburn


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The Union Updated Aug 21, 2013 12:02AM Published Aug 21, 2013 12:02AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.