A simple question: would you let your kid play football? I mean, say they are 8 years old and they ask you. What would you say? Many pros (LeBron James, Troy Aikman, Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson) have declared that they wouldn’t send their kids down that path but there are supporters on both sides. I believe sports are really helpful in building team skills for young minds and I would for sure encourage any offspring of mine to get out there and compete but football is another beast. The head injury issue is a serious one. And could you knowingly send your kid into that minefield?
I’m not a doctor but I know CTE is a real condition, mainly because of that Concussion movie. The kind of contact that happens in football is unique. Other sports have collisions but not ones where players can leave their feet and dive head-first into an opponent. This human missile technique is extra dangerous and happens routinely in the NFL. I asked the SBS staff what they thought and here are some answers of our in-house poll:
Sandy: Fuck no.
Mike Bridenstine: I’d let him play on two conditions. 1. He’s an amazing athlete. 2. He wanted to get screamed at by adult men and then go in the locker room and see all of his friends’ penises.
Phred: I’d have to say no. Kids are bigger, faster and stronger than they were in the good old days. The hormones in milk are outrageous. It’s practically steroids. I’m not subjecting my kid to that type of regular brutal impact. Even though I wish I would’ve played at some point as a kid.
I vote no too. I wouldn’t let my kid play. Which is tough to say because I love football and I know that someone’s parents need to let their kids play so we can have an NFL to cheer for. But there are other sports to play that aren’t as dangerous and can provide that same camaraderie while breeding a healthy level of competition. This in of itself is a crisis. Football is an American construct and for us to control it, we need to continue to produce high-level talent. This can’t happen if our top athletes won’t even let their kids follow in their footsteps.
So what’s the solution? Can we make the game safer? Will that ruin it? If not, are the huge paydays even worth it if you can’t even get old to enjoy it? Football is a gladiator sport. The risk is high, the drama is high and the price is high. That’s just too steep of a price to pay for any individual parent. For the record, it’s a total bummer to write that last line. I don’t ever want to limit anyone’s good time or regulate much in the name of safety but it’s just too hard to overlook that full-tackle football is inherently unsafe. Especially if we are talking about my precious unborn.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. Are you a the mother/father of a football player? Are you currently on a football team for your school? Are you are parent at the crossroads? Let us know. This whole learning thing only works if we all participate.
Pass the soccer ball.