Concussions

I am going to step away from the teaching world for a second and discuss a topic I honestly don’t know much about.  With that said, being a teacher and a father, this topic interests me. I listen to ESPN 1000 every morning because I am in love with sports.  One topic that continues to come up again and again is the topic of concussions.  It is mainly aimed towards football since it is so prevalent in the NFL, but it goes beyond just football.  For the purpose of this blog, I will be focusing more on the football side of it however.

Concussions are something that are seen way too often in the NFL, college, high school, and even in youth athletics. It is a scary thing to see a player get hit, and just go lifeless on the field.  It is even more scary to see the long term effects CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, can have on retired players. I have played sports my whole life, and luckily I have never had a concussion, at least that I remember.  The question I ask myself as I listen to these discussions is would I let me boy play football when he gets old enough?  I listen to both sides of the discussion and I have a hard time deciding.

This morning they were bringing up that the Ivy League schools are basically taking contact out of their practices to help try and prevent the hits that these players are taking.  The NFL has cut down their full contact practices to only 14 during the season.  I wonder is this the right idea?  In my opinion, it seems that with the new found information that keeps coming in about concussions, teaching kids the importance of how to hit makes more sense than cutting hitting out of practice.  Although I do agree that a percentage of practices without full contact is reasonable, I think that to completely remove it is dangerous.

I want to say that I would be okay with my son playing football one day, but I would make sure that the coaches that are in charge are teaching him the correct methods to tackle safely.  If the correct teaching happens at the youth level, I believe that concussions can be limited in the future.  I don’t think that football will ever be a safe sport, but the with correct teaching methods, and proper equipment, it can become safer.  I want to see these young men be able to play a game that they love playing, and millions love watching, without being worried about the long term effects of what might happen to them.

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7 comments

  1. whitewriteblog · March 3, 2016

    I’ve had sons in contact sports… always look out for their best interest. We expected the coaches would do that.

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  2. beckymusician · March 3, 2016

    I’m not much into sports. My daughter played basketball and did track in high school – basketball is higher contact than I had realized – without any concussions. It’s a scary aspect of some sports. I read recently that part of the problem is that football players are using their heads more aggressively now because of having more protective helmets. It’s ironic if that’s true.

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  3. Joanne Toft · March 3, 2016

    This is a hard topic. We can teach our children the correct way but what about the other team? We ran into this over and over again when my son played soccer. We worked hard to get the boys to play hard but safely. This was not always true of the other teams. This is just a hard decision as a parent. Thanks for the good article and thoughts.

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  4. Donna Smith · March 3, 2016

    My son didn’t do football, but soccer. I was always concerned about “heading the ball”, as our family has a history of neck problems. He avoided those, at my request. But that just never did seem like a good thing to do even if there isn’t a history of problems.
    And as Becky above said, it seems that because of helmets (and other protective equipment), the players are being much, much more aggressive.

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  5. Dana Murphy · March 3, 2016

    I don’t so much have an opinion on this issue, maybe because I’m a girl and I’m raising girls and I haven’t had to put much thought into it. (Not that girls can’t play football, but you know.) What I appreciate here though is how you weighed both sides of a complicated issue and managed to voice your opinion while still informing the reader. Your musings here turned out to be a great mentor text on opinion writing!

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  6. C.Crouch · March 4, 2016

    I felt the same way as you (probably even leaning more toward the NO football side) until my son wanted to play. I decided I should at least check into it more. After 2 years, I have found it much safer than I expected. From those boys who I polled that had experienced concussions, the concussions actually were caused by basketball, skate boarding. Go figure…guess it can happen anywhere so don’t count football out

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reese · March 6, 2016

    I read more Deadspin than I would care to admit and although I don’t have an opinion on whether someone should or should not play football because of this issue, the things I have been reading about the NFL working actively against safety in the sport, while simultaneously pretending otherwise is alarming and upsetting.

    http://deadspin.com/espn-nfl-blocks-16-million-from-being-used-to-fund-ma-1749256676

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