Should kids be allowed to play football? | The Tylt
Should kids be allowed to play football?
People have become so accustomed to seeing grown men hitting one another they forget that children subject themselves to the same punishment. With chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) linked to football, parents should reconsider letting their kids play the sport.
A child should not endure that kind of punishment during a very sensitive development phase of their life. Parents should think twice before letting their child play football.
With recent CTE studies, many people have been focusing on the negative aspects of playing football. However, playing football teaches skills like blocking, catching and throwing. More importantly, it teaches life lessons.
Kids learn discipline, hard work and teamwork when they play football. For a lot of children, football provides an incentive to do well in school or behave; it gives them an activity to keep them occupied. Football should always be available to kids of all ages.
Youth football obviously doesn't subject kids to the same level of impact that you find in professional leagues, but kids still take massive hits relative to their size. Dr. Alex Powers, a pediatric neurosurgeon, studied these hits and identified changes in brain matter. The long-term effects of those changes will take years to determine, but when a brain is changing due to constant trauma, that should be a red flag for parents.
In 2006, 13-year-old Zackery Lystadt took a hard hit and stayed down on the field. Like so many players, he got up, sat out two snaps and continued to play for the rest of the game. But as the game was ending, Lystadt collapsed and was wheeled to the hospital to relieve the pressure that built up inside his skull.
No one should have to worry about brain injuries when it comes to having fun in sports.
People act like youth football organizations have been sitting on their hands since the studies about concussions have come out. Organizations have actually adjusted curriculums and exercises to make the game safer for kids.
Heads Up Football, run by USA Football, was created to teach kids how to properly tackle, better protecting their heads from injuries. USA Football also adjusted games to reduce the risk of getting hurt by eliminating kickoffs and punts, having fewer players on the field, etc. With organizations making efforts to improve the game, parents should rest easy knowing their kids are safe.
Football is being targeted because it has the most violent hits, but kids risk head injuries in every sport. Women's soccer players actually suffer the most concussions per contact by athletes in the United States. Should people ban soccer to prevent kids from getting hurt? No, of course not.
There are ways to make the game safer without banning kids from playing football.
Kids learn so much from playing football. Aside from dedication, hard work and teamwork, football also teaches goal-setting. When they are on the football field, kids have a goal to meet, and a task to accomplish. They can take those lessons and apply it to school, work or other parts of their lives.
Football is important to kids, and parents should not deny them the joy of playing the game.