All high-impact sports carry risks, so the answer to this question is somewhat complicated. Sports like football are incredibly popular. According to one study, 1.5 million children play football. Before deciding whether your child should play a particular sport, you should do as much research as you can.
Understanding the Positives
Team sports have many positives for children, such as building character and increasing fitness. With child obesity a major epidemic in the U.S., experts hesitate to tell parents that their children should not do certain types of physical activity. What if football is the only sport your son wants to play?
Of course, there are many team sports that children can participate in instead of football. However, you should not always assume that other sports are safer. For example, soccer involves heading a ball, which can lead to concussions and neck injuries, much like football. Other contact sports like lacrosse are also potentially dangerous for children.
Safer sports include tennis, golf, and track and field. But the “team” aspect of these sports is less obvious. Instead, these are really team sports made up of individual competitors, and children might not learn important lessons on working as part of a team.
The Dangers of Contact Sports
Contact sports can lead to a variety of injuries, such as:
- Broken bones
These injuries, however, tend to heal on their own. A broken bone can heal within months, and although complications can occur, they are rare.
The real risk for high-impact sports are brain injuries. And here the research is not as helpful as we might like. For example, the NFL has been in the news for CTE, which stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This is a brain condition that results for multiple head traumas. Doctors can only diagnose CTE after death by doing an autopsy on the brain, so it is not entirely understood. In one study, 99% of the brains of football players studied exhibited signs of CTE.
Of course, these athletes played professional football for decades against vigorous competition. That many (but not all) pro players have suffered some sort of brain injury does not mean your child will. In fact, tens of millions of people have played high school football over the past 50 years. How many of them have suffered symptoms of CTE, such as impaired memory, speech, or judgment?
Making a Decision
Whether you let your children play football will largely depend on how risk averse you are. If you want to do everything possible to protect your child, you will probably not allow them to play football. Other parents might allow their children to play but insist that coaches and the league follow the rules. If you have concerns, you should talk to your child’s doctor.
Speak to a Miami Attorney with Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum
If your child has suffered a sports-related injury, you might be entitled to compensation. Please reach out to us today by calling 305-371-2692 for more information.