Kathleen Parker: The hard knocks of pro football: Parents know best when deciding whether sons play football

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    Feb. 5, 2014 10:38 a.m.

    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.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Feb. 4, 2014 10:46 p.m.

    Parents know best?

    Would these be the same parents who aren't even paying attention to their own child's lunch account?

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Feb. 4, 2014 7:15 p.m.

    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 hero.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 4, 2014 1:39 p.m.

    Parents make the choices. Does that arbitrarily have to mean they know 'best'? They prove otherwise all the time.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Feb. 4, 2014 1:11 p.m.

    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?

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Feb. 4, 2014 12:33 p.m.

    News flash: Unless the parents are doctors, they don't know best.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 4, 2014 6:57 a.m.

    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).

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 4, 2014 5:39 a.m.

    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 all.