ATTENTION: MOMS AND DADS
Updated: Jan 22
Should you let your son play football?
That‘s The Sage’s terse, curt reply with no exceptions, absolutely none.
He bases his opinion on what we know today about the sport. It’s brutal and violent, clearly even more so than boxing, which mainly just puts heads at risk. Whereas, football in addition to putting brains at risk from concussions, endangers all body parts.
That said, right now is not a very good time for The Sage to come out with such an opinion. We’re in the midst of another heart stopping college football season.
And we’re all excited and wondering, after a playoff who will win the national championship.
Then we’re oozing with anticipation about the NFL finals and the upcoming Super Bowl.
Yes, football is in our blood. Most of us were raised with it being so. Rah, Rah, Rah. “Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate!”
I remember as a kid, in the 1930s, seeming centuries ago, there was a song, “You Gotta be a Football Hero to Get Along with the Beautiful Girls.” So, I wanted to play the game. But I was too frail and not well coordinated. I’d drop the passes or strike out. I was usually the last one picked in choosing sides for neighborhood football and baseball games.
That despite, that my father was a great athlete. In the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, he won a World Championship for the USA and was a gold medalist.
But “doggone” it, I didn’t get his genes for athleticism.
Yet love of watching football was in my roots. I remember as an 18 year old freshman at Northwestern, I attended every home game. That year, 1942, we won just one game. And I was in the stands for it. We beat Texas, 3-0, by a field goal.
So, as most of us were, I was raised with an adoration of football. And it’s with great reluctance, that I now accept reality about the game. I must, despite my intense interest to watch games on tv and get excited as to those that are decided in the last minute or so.
But as I watch, I don’t consider how many of these young men, will pay in suffering all their lives, for the glory and attention they’re getting in a particular game. I overlook that as I get carried away by the thrill and spirit, the rah, rah.
And I now realize that as a spectator, that is, someone in the stands, watching on TV, or listening on radio, it’s impossible to put myself in players’ shoes. That is, I can’t vicariously feel the horrible physical trauma, instant pain players incur when they’re crashed into.
And one reason I can’t, is because as mentioned, I’m distracted by the excitement and thrills of the game. This transcends just about all my thinking. All I see and hear are the roaring crowds, players jumping up and down on the sidelines, huge flags and banners, the cheerleaders, and gleeful fans in the end zones seats reaching out to touch players when they score touchdowns.
Such distractions quickly extinguish any thoughts or concerns I have for the poor guy who just got slammed into equipment on the sideline. Or it won’t register with me when someone is brutally hammered in the helmet by a banned shot that the officials miss. Then I see him woozily walk off the field.
But do I actually perceive him? Nope. Again, that's because I’m distracted by the crowd’s roar and cheering.
The point: Football’s tremendous enthusiasm, excitement, and thrills distract and divert us. They keep us from recognizing the game’s deadly viciousness, brutality, and the lifelong suffering it can cause our sons.
Yet, I for one, must admit: I subconsciously reflect as I swoon at seeing pretty cheer leaders, how can any game this thrilling, exciting, and fun possibly be a bad thing?
Well, it is, “dadgummit,” I lambast myself.
Indeed, we now know the truth about the extreme risks of playing football. We no longer have the excuse that ignorance is bliss. That we didn’t know, no longer flies. And it hasn’t for quite some time now, at least since the 1990s.
The evidence is overwhelming: That if you encourage and let your 7-year-old-little guy start playing football and continue to play throughout high school and college, his chances of being seriously injured are substantial.
Again, that’s because football is a “game” wherein players routinely smash into each other like cars in deadly collisions.
Though hopefully not, there could be times in your son’s playing days, where he will be violently slammed in the helmet and receive one or more concussions. Some appallingly could go undetected. And eventually, they could leave him impaired for the rest of his life with memory losses and cognitive lapses.
Or he could get certain of his body parts brutalized, like a broken leg, hip, ankle, injured back, chest, ribs, neck, you name it. And the consequences of such injuries could put him on additive pain killing pills for as long as he lives.
And for what? For the camaraderie of teammates, glory, and fun of trying to be a football hero?
Or could it be, Mom and Dad, that you and your son are dreaming that eventually he'll play on Sundays and become an instant millionaire? Well, to that, the three of you better get real. Only 2 percent of college players ever make the NFL. So, the odds that your son will be that talented are slim to none.
But let's say it's the fans that motivate your son, as well as you to let him participate. You guys love their exhilaration and sheer enjoyment of the game.
Yet let’s face it. Too many fans are bloodthirsty like the Romans were in the Coliseum cheering on gladiators as they bludgeoned each other.
Finally, could it be that Son is playing just to please his mom and dad and their love of the game?
If that's the case, years down the pike when he's suffering, how will he feel about that?
But no matter what, Mom and Dad, by now you're well aware and accept the reality that the greatest danger of football for your boy, is injury to his brain: concussions.
Yet to make you more aware, it should be an absolute must for you and every mother and father of a minor football player, to watch the movie, “Concussion.” It’s a 2015 film that tells it all, LIKE IT IS.
Then there’s this crucial review of the movie that you should read.
And after you do those two things, I’ll bet the barn, that many of you, if not most, will pronto withdraw your little fellow, or big guy if he's still a minor, from the game.
And well, you should.
Anyway, Mom and Dad, I’ve said enough. For the love of your son watch that movie and read that review.
And think, think, and think. Then do the right thing:
DON'T LET YOUR SON PLAY FOOTBALL !!
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Notice: The writings in this publication are strictly personal opinions, Furthermore, they should not be taken or relied upon as legal advice. For such counsel, consult an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction..