Published: Tuesday, Feb. 4 2014 12:00 a.m. MST
It is an interesting debate. I come from a family where I played much to my
parents displeasure, my cousins played, and my boys play and played. My
youngest played Pop Warner last year again. I have had several discussions with
my youngest about continuing or finding other sports to play. Playing a sport
is just a requirement for him. We have suggested Lacrosse, or AAU year round
basketball. He does play soccer as well. He says he likes football.... and
that he gets more injured playing the other sports..... his black and blue knees
from basketball over the weekend proving his point.The interesting
thing about living in a university ward is that we get a good number of sports
medicine students coming through our halls. And what is interesting is my sons
feelings are often born out by reports from those who work for Duke Sports
medicine.... that concussions are hardly relegated to Football. The other
Futball has almost equal number, and its own list of problems. Sport comes with risk - no matter the sport. It takes constant parenting to
keep that risk/reward balance in check and our kids safe... banged up knees and
Some parents? Sure. Most parents? Yes. All parents? No. Ever watched the
train wreck that is some of our TV and pop music child stars? They had parents
asleep at the switch.Some parents try to live vicariously through
their children. Others frankly don't do the research and rely on hearsay,
out of date information, or anecdotal data ("I did it and I am
fine").So, will most parents make wise choices? Yes. If the
data is fully and freely available. But all? No. Never (unfortunately).
News flash: Unless the parents are doctors, they don't know best.
Parents know best? That's ridiculous. How many parents have the expertise
to read a fMRI that shows the devastating brain lesions that come from playing
football? The people who really do know best, like Dr. Daniel Amen, are saying
it's time to choose: Your Brain or Your Football?
Parents make the choices. Does that arbitrarily have to mean they know
'best'? They prove otherwise all the time.
There is way too much emphasis put on sports especially at the high school level
and if you are not athletically gifted or you're small or don't have
the political connections, you are one of the masses that has the privilege of
cheering on the athletic heroes while you feel kind of worthless. The press is
guilty of this distortion by giving too much emphasis on sports and ignoring
other areas of accomplishment. I knew a student who, as a sophomore took 1st
place in the state in Lincoln-Douglas debate by beating the guy who too 1st
place the year before as a junior. What did the newspaper say? They printed a
photo of the high school debate team stating that the team took 1st in the state
but didn't mention how any of the individuals did. Perhaps if the press
publicized more of the accomplishments of students in other areas (speech,
debate, drama, music, academics, etc.) more students would get some recognition
in these areas and kids wouldn't feel so much pressure to be an athletic
Parents know best?Would these be the same parents who aren't
even paying attention to their own child's lunch account?
When my oldest asked to play football at age 9, I spoke with my pediatrician.
He told me that up until about age 14, when boys tend to increase in mass,
football is statistically safer than either baseball or soccer. The worst
injuries he had ever seen in young children were baseball pitchers, who tend to
overuse their arms, and soccer forwards, who do a lot of "headers." Both of my boys have coached Ute Conference football and one is heading
toward a career as a coach.
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