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So, Your Son Wants to...

So, Your Son Wants to Play Football: Educate Yourself on the Hidden Dangers

At some point in time, your child will want to engage in school sports. Football is one of the most popular choices for young boys, because it is part of tradition and has the highest exposure in high school. As a mom of a young boy, many things go through your mind when you think of him playing sports. Is it safe? Should I let him play? Before making such a serious decision, you should have adequate knowledge of all the factors involved with the game. Every game comes with its risks, some more than others. Football inherently is a violent sport in which injuries are a part of the game, but when is an injury minor and when is it life threatening?

In order for your child to participate in any sport, you are required to sign a waiver. Due to the nature of sports and the injuries that can happen, all athletic programs will want to make sure the parent understands the risks and accepts all liability. Any injuries resulting from normal play will be your financial responsibility, therefore make sure your medical insurance will cover your child.

In the game of football, players are tackled, tossed around, and hit with the force of over a half a ton. Every player experiences some level of head trauma. Some incidents are more serious than others, one of the most serious being a concussion. Tricky part about concussions is that they can occur even if the player doesn’t lose consciousness. Coaches and parents are left to make the call as to whether the player can return to the game. Therefore, make sure the athletic program has a protocol and continued training on the signs of concussions. The CDC Heads Up program offers free informational materials and online training on concussion awareness and when to sit out. Get informed and make sure the coaches are too. 

The threats of concussions are real and long term. Many sufferers have reported the increased occurrences of migraine headaches long after the injury. More severe head trauma or repeated concussions can cause long term affects. Some children that have had several concussions have reported behavior changes and even trouble concentrating in school. In more severe cases of repeated trauma, some young athletes have lost their lives.

Plenty of people survive football careers unscathed. Not all injuries are serious, but being informed and involved will limit the dangers to your young athletes. Have fun, enjoy the game, but be prepared. 

For more information on ways to protect your athlete check out the CDC concussion training programs and read what the NFL is doing to protect their players on the NFL Health and Safety site.

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