USA Today did a thought-provoking story about whether parents should allow their kids to play football, in light about all the talk abut concussions and the long-term brain damage they can do.
The story led off with the fact that ex-NFL quarterback Kurt Warner would rather that his three sons not play football. And it also noted that Tom Brady Sr., whose son is a multiple Super Bowl-winning quarterback, has expressed reservations about kids starting to play football when they are too young.
The elder Brady said he didn’t permit his now-famous son play football until he was 14, and that he didn’t approve of kids as young as 7 playing.
As USA Today pointed out, currently registration is taking place for the next season of youth football. So parents have to make some tough decisions about whether to let their kids play or not.
From the article, it’s apparent that the youth football officials are following in the footsteps of the NFL, instituting precautions to protect youngsters from concussions. For example, Pop Warner football, which includes kids 5 to 15, is looking to reduce the number of contact hours and head contacts in practice, according to USA Today. It is also going to change its rules so there are less head contact.
Chris Nowinski, president of the Sports Legacy Institute in Boston, is lobbying for a hit count for youth athletes, meaning there would be a limit to how many blows a player could sustain each season and year, according to USA Today.
Other experts interviewed by the newspaper said that kids need to be shown how to block and tackle safely: With their shoulders, not their heads.
They viewed that as a better tack than telling kids they can’t play football.