Concussions are in the news and influencing everything from equipment manufacturers to the decisions families make about sports involvement. Long-lasting brain trauma from blows received during sports are being researched and when you read about the speculation surrounding the recent deaths of Junior Seau and Derek Boogaard, you start to wonder if any contact sport is worth the risk. Some are quick to point to concussions as the cause, while others say that it’s inconclusive. There is a lot of information out there, some is informative and interesting, some is downright horrifying. And some goes as far as to say allowing your child to play football is abusive, and we will see the demise of college and professional football in the next 25 years.
Dr. David Geier asked for my comments on his blog “Would you let your son play football?” and you can read my thoughts, as well as those from some real experts. When I asked my orthopedic doc, who patrols the sidelines as a team physician for high school football games, what his biggest injury concern was, he said without hesitation, “concussions.” And when I asked a friend whose sons play football what she thought, she admitted that some of the stories were so scary she was afraid to read them.
The NFL is taking some action on this, which is great to see because the NHL and USA Hockey still have their heads buried in the sand, or somewhere worse. In addition to the NFL’s newly announced Total Wellness Program for all current and former players, they’ve invited some bloggers to the NFL Youth Health and Safety Luncheon at the NFL offices on August 22. That would include *ahem* me.
Yes, just try to imagine the Trophy Mom roaming around the NFL offices, rubbing elbows with Holly Robinson Peete, and bro-hugging Roger Goodell.
The NFL’s invitation said they want to “hear what concerns you and your readers about youth sports and injuries, what keeps you up at night, and share some resources with you that may be helpful on the topic. We’ll bring in some of our experts to speak with the group, but we also want the day to really be an exchange of ideas.”
So let the exchange of ideas begin. What do you think about the safety of football or other contact sports, especially at the youth level? Would you, do you, let your kids play? Do you think coaches put your kid’s health over a win? Is the equipment safe and does it fit? Are there people on the sidelines who can evaluate concussion symptoms and do they make kids sit out? Are the officials well trained? I want to hear it all before I go so comment away.