I’ll say this right up front: My son plays ice hockey, which isn’t exactly a concussion-free sport, though he plays in a no-checking league, which lessens the danger.
He also was a kid who played flag football and mentioned an interest in tackle, but we never went to the latter because his athletic interests were diverted (oddly for a Florida-born kid) to the ice.
But football is hugely popular here (and in many places). And with new research and information about concussions suffered on the field (a danger in soccer, lacrosse and other sports, too), there’s been a lot of discussion in some quarters about whether children should still play tackle football and, if so, at what age?
Orlando Sentinel columnist Beth Kassab discussed the issue on Super Bowl Sunday. Huffington Post columnist Lisa Belkin did the same a day later. Belkin said if her sons were young, she wouldn’t let them play. Kassab said if her young son plays, it’ll be the flag variety until high school – which prompted lots of critical comments suggesting she was overreacting and, perhaps, needlessly keeping her kid from a sport he might love.
But all the research on concussions – and on brain trauma among professional athletes – seems rightly to lead to worry or at least to reading and to discussion.
Even on the sidelines of my then-first grader’s soccer game, I heard parents of boys talking about whether football would be in their future and how their thinking on the subject had changed, given all the recent news about concussions.
I know it’s made me think – and read about hockey’s risks – in a way perhaps parents didn’t a generation ago.
What about you?
Beth Kassab’s column: http://bit.ly/THmcOt
Lisa Belkin’s column: http://huff.to/XIKNjX
By LESLIE POSTAL