If Your Son Wanted To Start Playing Football Right Now, Would You Let Him?
Before I get into the point I’d like to make here, let me state the obvious: Football is a violent sport. It’s a sport that requires you to have a mean streak. Football isn’t a sport that you try out “just to see if you like it.” It’s a sport that you play because you were born to play it. Sure, there are probably some kids out there who get involved in Pee Wee football simply because their parents sign them up for it. But, unlike sports like baseball and basketball, you have to be committed to some degree to play football. Because, like I said, football is a violent sport and, if you’re not committed to it, you could do some serious damage to your body.
That being said, there’s a debate going on right now amongst sports analysts, bloggers, pro football players, and parents about whether or not kids should be encouraged to pursue a playing career in football. A few weeks ago, former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner came out and said that he would not push his kids to play football. In fact, he said he’d advise them not to play the sport that made him rich and famous. After all the violent hits he took, he says that he loves the game of football but that the pain and the risk of injury associated with it is not something he’d necessarily wish upon his children.
Earlier this week, Tom Brady‘s dad Tom Brady, Sr. expressed similar concerns. And he took the argument about kids playing football to a whole new level. He said that, if faced with the decision today to either let Tom Brady play youth football or discourage him from doing it, he’d probably be “very hesitant” to let him suit up for a Pee Wee team. Reason being: He now knows the health risks associated with playing football and the long-term problems that many football players have after their careers are over.
“This head thing is frightening for little kids,” he said, alluding to all the discoveries about concussions that have been made in lower levels of football in recent years. “There’s the physical part of it and the mental part—it’s becoming very clear there are serious long-term ramifications.”
Brady’s dad’s opinion begs an answer to the following question: If the father of a current Pro Bowl caliber QB says he wouldn’t let his son play today if he was still a child, does that mean you shouldn’t let your son play? Better yet, if you have a son—or plan on having one sometime in the future—would you allow him to play football?
I might be in the minority here right now, but I have to say that I would let my (future) son play if he wanted to do it. Even though I never played football myself, I would have no qualms about letting my kid suit up for the football team.
Why? Well, for one, the truth is that football is safer right now than it’s ever been. Today’s NFL is much different than the NFL of 20 years ago. Likewise, youth football is different, too. Coaches and parents are no longer ignorant about concussions, head trauma, and other brain-related injuries. Those things are no longer viewed as “part of the game.” They’re serious and warrant immediate medical attention. The rules are different, too. Quarterbacks are protected like never before. Defensive players are penalized for hard hits. And referees seem intent on keeping players as safe as possible.
So, with that in mind, why wouldn’t I let my son play football one day? There’s always going to be a chance that he could get hurt. But, isn’t that true in any sport? And, isn’t it kind of nice to know that if and when he does play, he’ll be playing a sport that’s safer than it’s ever been in the history of the sport? As long as I realize—and he realizes—just how violent football can be, I’d have no problem with letting him suit up. But, I get the feeling that not everyone out there feels the same way right now.
So, would you let your kid play football if he wanted to? Why or why not? Let us know.