by: JOSHUA RAMIREZ/Sports Editor
With kids becoming more interested in football at young ages, the responsibility of regulating the sport has taken on an even more importance than ever before.
Is it safe for my child to play football?
This is a question many parents are going to have to ask themselves at some point. With the popularity and excitement generated by football today, it’s no wonder that kids would want to go out and try their best at imitating the superstars they see on television every Sunday.
But as a parent, when is the right time to let your kid strap on a helmet and voluntarily receive hits that have an impact that could rival that of a car accident?
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disorder caused by repeated concussions. The condition has made its presence very well known in the world of football. With all the research about CTE coming to light, America has begun to wonder if this game is truly safe.
Still, it is not uncommon to drive by a park and see a Pop Warner football game in action, with kids having a blast. The only difference is that now-a-days I want to run out and stop them.
As amazing and exciting as the game of football is, with the information we have on what affect the sport can have in the long run, it’s not hard to see that this is not a game for kids.
Football is one of the only sports that has proven that it can be the death of its players. In a sport where broken bones, torn ligaments, and traumatic brain injuries occur almost on a daily basis, it’s hard to understand why a parent would subject a child, as young as 5 years old, in some cases, to such a dangerous hobby.
Many people believe peewee football is safe for their kids. But as someone who played football from a young age until I graduated from high school, I can say it’s not as safe as some would think.
As a 12 year old at Smiley Wilson Junior High, I saw a countless number of teammates break bones, tear ACL’s and even get concussions. When I think about it now, it upsets me a bit. I can’t think of any reason why a young teenager should be subject to body damage at such a severe degree.
What’s worse is these kids aren’t even mature enough to understand what they are doing to themselves, and, in some cases, even take pride in saying they have a “football” injury. These are just some of the reasons why it is time for parents to step in and say enough is enough.
We have seen enough kids with crutches and casts to know that this is not OK, and these injuries aren’t even the worst of it. CTE, one of the most dangerous side effects of playing football, can’t even be seen by the naked eye.
CTE will not cause your child to bleed. They won’t need a cast, and they most likely aren’t in so much pain…yet. But as we have found out recently, CTE is a condition that gets more severe over time.
In the case of a 12 year old kid, it’s possible that 10 years with this disease could cause death, or, as we’ve seen with pro football players, it can lead to a higher possibility of suicide.
As adults, most of us understand that kids don’t always know what’s best for themselves. So parents have an obligation to keep the young ones safe, even if they don’t like or understand it, and may even hate it.
But a kid jumping up and down screaming about a decision you’ve made for them is better than one who is suffering from brain damage, or paralysis, or not around at all.