The article on Harry Jones reminded me of how torn I’ve been lately about the impact that football can have on current and former players health. I passionately love football and follow the Hogs daily. It’s been a huge part of my life for well over 55 years. But I worry about the toll it takes on lives. A case in point is my 4 grandsons. How can I love the game and still not want them to even participate? One of the grandsons plays flag football and (even at 7 years old) is bigger, faster and more aggressive than anyone in his age group. He eats, sleeps and dreams about football. And even living in Tennessee is still a HUGE Hog fan. He tells his mom and dad he will play football for the Hogs someday. His older brother is projected to end up about 6’4" tall and is very strong and athletic but at this point is uninterested in any sports. Their dad played baseball at UA Little Rock and was hounded his entire HS career to play FB. He resisted because he loved baseball. It worries me that my grandsons won’t resist.
In my short lived Jr. HS career in PB I busted 4 helmets and saw guys on my team suffer concusions. It did not bother me at all because I loved the game. Fortunately for my health a skinny, short and slow could not play beyond Jr. HS. My dad made sure that didn’t happen (bribed me a guitar and a set of golf clubs).
I’m torn. Or maybe I’m just overthinking it.
How can I love a game I don’t want my grandsons to play?
Ultimately, they will decide for themselves. If they want to play, there is nothing you can really do to stop them. And, then you will have to do what most of us do when their kids (grand kids) play sports, you hope they get up after every play.
Sarah played soccer. That can be dangerous for concussions, too. The head-to-head contact with no protection is intense when they play the ball in the air. Sarah had a college teammate that was diagnosed with concussions so many times that doctors said one more and she was done. She had more, but didn’t report them. She was an intense competitor and would go up for every ball. The result was brutal some times.
I do remember watching Sarah’s last college game and she came away unscathed. Almost every girl on the field had undergone ACL reconstructive surgery. Sarah’s knees are intact. Now, I do hear her complain about aches from time to time. I’m guessing her ligaments are frayed.
Sarah was not one who played much in the middle. She was an outside mid for most of her playing time, and finished as a sweeper or defensive back. I didn’t see her play too many with her head. I was always thankful about that tendency. She had a teammate who was going to beat her to those balls in the air. And most let her have them.
I never thought about soccer being dangerous, but I guess it is. I don’t know what I would have thought if I had a son who played football. I guess I’d have let him do what he loved, if that was it.
Football is a sport that I have loved my entire life. It is a sport that withholds team work, comradery, and many valuable lessons. Unfortunately it is also a scary sport, especially in the area of concussions. I also wonder if I will want my children to play when they reach the age because of this. I loved my time playing and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but the damages it can cause are entirely to detrimental and dangerous to these young kids and their future. But ultimately it is their decision, and if they are anything like many of the posters in this forum, they will love the game and choose to play. Atleast there has been huge amounts of progress made as far as protection and safety.
My son played in the top div in AR. as a Tight End and LB. I have never watched games like I watched those games. I would watch him. It was a successful play if he got up (which he did) after every play. After that, I would look to see where the ball was. That did not matter that much to me.
I had more than one visit to the ER in my playing days for X-Rays. I was more afraid of my mom embarrassing me by running on the field when I was hurt more than getting hurt. Before every game I made mom promise not to come on the field if I was down. She would reluctantly agree. Fast forward to the 90’s when wee lived in Benton and attended every Benton HS football game. Mom would sometimes attend with us. One night a kid was hurt and his mom ran on the field to see about him. My sweet mom looked at me with her hands on her hips and said “see…his mom gets to go on the field to check on him”. Everyone around us howled…