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Football and concussions. Be sure you know the risks.

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It’s that time of year again: FOOTBALL SEASON!

NFL teams are beginning preseason play. Colleges have begun practicing. As soon as school starts, high schools athletes will take to football fields all over America. And, even younger boys will don pads and helmets and begin the ritual of playing the All American game.

But, let’s not forget what this game is really about: Hitting. Mostly, hitting the other guy while running toward him as fast as you can in a crouched position, leading with your head, trying to knock him down.

NFL players get paid a lot of money to put their bodies through this torture, and many have paid a very high price living with the bodies they have inherited from their profession. Bad knees. Bad hips. Bad shoulders. Bad brains.

Our brains are mush. I don’t mean to say that we are not smart; I mean that the consistency of our brains is mushy - like gelatin. And when that wonderful wad of gelatin gets slammed into the hard insides of your head, delicate tissue gets ripped and torn. That delicate tissue has billions of cells that carry information and electrical impulses that help us think and move our body and help define who we are.

Several weeks ago, thousands of former college athletes filed suit against the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) over its handling of head injuries. Earlier, former NFL players sued the league for being negligent about the dangers of head injuries while playing football. (The number of plaintiffs in that class action has risen to more than 4,500.)

Plenty of people think the college and professional athletes who filed lawsuits because of their brain injuries should have “known better.” After all, football is a violent sport. Regardless of your opinion about that, the brains of high school and younger players should not be subjected to that sort of abuse.

If your son plays football, make sure his coaches and trainers are well informed about the harms that can come from playing football. Your son should not be put back into a game after suffering a concussion. Make sure your son’s helmet and mouthpiece are well padded and fit him properly.

Most boys who play high school (and younger) football will not go on to play college or professional ball. Help your son enjoy the sport without injury to his brain.


Category: Injuries to Children

Sandra Rohrstaff
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Virginia Child Injury and Elder Abuse Attorney

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