This should get a resounding duh from anyone reading this. But it seems some of us are slow to admitting the sometimes irrevocable damages of football.
According to Doctor Bennet Omalu, kids under 18 should be banned legally from playing the sport. He goes on to connect football’s damages to that of drug or alcohol addiction.
He says: “Our children are minors who have not reached the age of consent. It is our moral duty as a society to protect the most vulnerable of us. The human brain becomes fully developed at about 18 to 25 years old. We should at least wait for our children to grow up, be provided with the information and education on the risk of play, and let them make their own decisions. No adult, not a parent or a coach, should be allowed to make this potentially life-altering decision for a child.”
He continues: “We have a legal age for drinking alcohol; for joining the military; for voting; for smoking; for driving; and for consenting to have sex. We must have the same when it comes to protecting the organ that defines who we are as human beings.”
I agree, as unpopular as that is. As a high school basketball coach for four years, I noticed a troubling trend. About a third of my athletes played because their parents wanted them to.
33% of my athletes abused their bodies (though in a lesser fashion) so their parents could have something to plaster on the fridge and brag about at work.
And I have a problem with that.
If young athletes can’t drink or have sex legally, why should their parents be allowed to force them into playing a sport that could alter their life forever?
Before some of you brush this off as over PC, and weak-minded, and whatever else you can muster in your bag of bad names, I encourage you to do the research. Study. Find the facts. And then come back and tell me you are 100% comfortable with your kid’s chances on the football field.
This isn’t an anti-pigskin rant. It’s reality. It’s pragmatic and practical. We have a serious problem on our hands.
One of America’s greatest past times is harming our young peoples’ bodies. It yields concussions, broken bones, brain damage, spinal damage. I have friends whose wrists and ankles still hurt and swell from an injury their frosh year.
The NFL is responsible in my opinion. It’s their job to figure all this out. Football more than any other sport, relies on development from a young age. In order to have gifted pros, we need upper echelon college programs, hard- nosed high school programs and youth leagues centered on fundamental development.
Football needs a break through. Like now. No time to waste. Helmets or pads or something that can take enough heat off the body. Otherwise, Bernard Pollard’s prophetic omen will be right.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports