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Columbus, Ohio
USA

Blog

Why injury? It's this simple: more children die from injuries every year than from the next three leading causes of death combined. Nobody knows this because no one is talking about it. In the U.S., one child dies every hour from an injury that could have been prevented. Around the world, a child dies every 30 seconds as the result of an injury. You don’t need to have a child to know that we can do better.

 

Why I Let My Son Play Football

End Injury

My son plays football.   

That simple sentence has launched many interesting discussions. In the past, the conversations were laughs over shared stories and pride at what he was accomplishing. Recently, however, the response is often one of shock or judgment: “I can’t believe you let him play” or “I would never let my child play football.”

We encourage kids to play sports, but football is no longer seen as “ok.” The recent studies on concussions and head injuries have led many families to have their children participate in other sports. I understand this. Concussions and head injuries can be serious. 

I know the research, yet I still allow my son to play. Why is that? For one, I have done my homework. I know the types of injuries athletes can get playing football, and I’ve worked with his team to prevent them. I do everything from advocating for an athletic trainer on the field at games to teaching myself about proper hydration and the correct way to fit equipment. I make sure my son gets a baseline concussion test every year, and I know the coaches have an emergency plan in place in case an injury does happen. 

But it is more than that. My son truly loves the game, and he is good at it. I’ve watched him grow into a leader through this sport and become part of a brotherhood. There is something different about being a part of a football team that is hard to describe. I don’t know if it is the greater number of kids on a team, the physicality of the sport, or even the historical significance of football that lets the kids (and the parents) feel like they are a part of something bigger, but it is unlike any other sport. How would I take that away from him?   

This is not a decision our family has made lightly. It is also constantly under review. He is allowed to play football because we are comfortable with the coaches, the team, the school and our son’s health. If any of these factors change, our decision to let him play may change, but for now, we choose football.

This decision should be a personal one for each family. Football will not be right for every child, but I don’t think it should be automatically ruled out, either. Our family learned about the risks and how to mitigate them and made the decision that was right for us. I encourage all families to consider the potential benefits and weigh the possible risks before deciding what is right for you and your child.

If your child will play, be active in helping prevent injury on the field. Ask questions and take action when you see something that needs to change. Don’t assume that the coaches or the athletic director are up-to-date on the most current methods of preventing football injuries. Help make the experience safer for everyone on the field. And don’t forget to cheer loudly from the sidelines when they do something great.

 

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