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.