Questioning the safety of football does not make someone un-American. The healthier we keep our community members the better off we all are. Football is not a healthy game.
All of my children played football….. really well. Watching my sons play football was absolutely one of my most favorite things to do. Going to the snack bar or to the restroom were hard to schedule because I never wanted to miss a single play my boys participated in. They played defense, offense, and special teams. All of them were recognized by their teammates and their coaches at the end of the seasons with “Toughness”, Spirit, and MVP awards. Two of them as seniors were also awarded their high school’s recognition as the graduating senior athlete with the highest GPA.
Today one son struggles with concussion related problems. He has lost his scholarship and has had to repeat more than half a dozen college classes because he has trouble retaining the information he learned during the week. His sophomore year he suffered three concussions playing the sport he loves at his University. He is planning to graduate in May with an Engineering degree. I hope he finds a job in his field. More than that I hope he just finds a job with health insurance as he is going to need that as he gets older and his concussion related brain damage becomes more pronounced.
One son has problems with his joints and his spine is out of alignment. These are consequences of his playing tackle football since elementary school. As a teenager there was no way that boy could sneak up on anyone his knees and ankles made so much noise as he walked. Dozens of visits to the Chiropractor and another hundred plus to a Physical Therapist and now at age 20 his spine has straightened and he no longer pops as he walks. He plays soccer now.
Now I am going to cry. My baby at 14 suffered two spinal fractures playing JV football. We were able to avoid surgery and he seems to be healed but his promising high school sports career ended as a sophomore. His only Varsity Letter was in golf. No League wrestling titles like his brothers and no Valley Championship as a Varsity level player with the boys he had played football with since he was 8 years old. No interest from or campus visits to West Point like his brothers had. He can’t pass the physical. His college desirability has been limited to only those schools that value him for his brain. Thank goodness he still has a 1930 SAT score and a 4.03 GPA to offer. Yesterday’s mail brought more scholarship offers. I worry about his back everyday and hope he does not have pain for the rest of his life like other young men we know who also damaged their spines playing high school football.