Should we let our kids play full contact football

Once considered a minor annoyance—who hasn’t heard the stories of NFL players in the 1970s and 1980s “getting their bell rung” and immediately rejoining the game on the next play, thinking (incorrectly) that a head injury shouldn’t limit them from the game like a broken limb or torn ligament would—we now know much more about the long term ramifications of traumatic brain injuries in athletes than we did even a decade or two ago… but we still know painfully little. While we now know about the existence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative neurological condition caused by repeated head injuries like concussions, we know next to nothing about what it takes for the disease to occur, or how many football players are at risk of developing it. That’s because doctors can only diagnose CTE posthumously via a brain autopsy, and we’ve only known about the existence of the disease since the early 2000s: given that it develops over the course of a lifetime, it’ll be some time before we know the answers to these questions. The good news, though, is that we’re aware of the condition’s existence, and can take some steps to prevent it from occurring. With CTE well evident these days thanks to advancements in technology, the NFL continues to work on making the game safer with concussion protocols. The NFL season is just a few months away, and a BetMGM bonus code Massachusetts will have all NFL fans looking to support their favorite team this season covered if you’re looking to add excitement to this season’s games. In this article, though, we’re going to explore a different bet, one that has much more hanging in the balance: whether or not it’s safe for your child to play full-contact football, given what we know now about brain injuries. The greater Boston area is one that’s been especially affected by CTE research. A 2023 study conducted at Boston University showed that nearly 92 percent of former NFL players displayed posthumous evidence of CTE. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who signed with the New England Patriots ahead of the 2019 NFL season but never played in a game for the team, was diagnosed with CTE following his death after hitting his head while suffering from a seizure in 2021. Thomas had two recorded concussions in his playing career, one in college and one in the NFL: he also suffered minor injuries in a high speed car crash in 2019. Medical examiners at BU couldn’t determine whether his history of seizures, which began in 2019, stemmed from injuries suffered during the car accident, from his playing career, or some combination of both. Some former NFL players diagnosed with CTE, like Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Wallace, were notorious for their fierce play and repeated head injuries as a result. Others, like former WVU and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry, who passed away in 2009 after falling out of the back of a moving truck, received a posthumous diagnosis despite never having gone on record with a concussion at any level of the game. It’s not like you have to have repeated concussions to develop the disease: subconcussive hits, which occur when the head is impacted (albeit not hard enough to cause symptoms at the time) could play a role in causing CTE in cases like Henry’s. Given the unpredictable nature of the disease, it’s nearly impossible to feel good about any outcome: you don’t want to hold your kid out of the game they love, but you also don’t want to take the risk of hurting their futures through head injuries.While I’m not a doctor, I’d recommend having a short leash if you let your child play football: if they have a concussion, immediately pull them from playing for good, as it’s obvious that any amount of brain damage can cause serious issues in the future.

Should we let our kids play full contact football

Once considered a minor annoyance—who hasn’t heard the stories of NFL players in the 1970s and 1980s “getting their bell rung” and immediately rejoining the game on the next play, thinking (incorrectly) that a head injury shouldn’t limit them from the game like a broken limb or torn ligament would—we now know much more about the long term ramifications of traumatic brain injuries in athletes than we did even a decade or two ago… but we still know painfully little.

While we now know about the existence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative neurological condition caused by repeated head injuries like concussions, we know next to nothing about what it takes for the disease to occur, or how many football players are at risk of developing it. That’s because doctors can only diagnose CTE posthumously via a brain autopsy, and we’ve only known about the existence of the disease since the early 2000s: given that it develops over the course of a lifetime, it’ll be some time before we know the answers to these questions.

The good news, though, is that we’re aware of the condition’s existence, and can take some steps to prevent it from occurring. With CTE well evident these days thanks to advancements in technology, the NFL continues to work on making the game safer with concussion protocols. The NFL season is just a few months away, and a BetMGM bonus code Massachusetts will have all NFL fans looking to support their favorite team this season covered if you’re looking to add excitement to this season’s games.

In this article, though, we’re going to explore a different bet, one that has much more hanging in the balance: whether or not it’s safe for your child to play full-contact football, given what we know now about brain injuries.

The greater Boston area is one that’s been especially affected by CTE research. A 2023 study conducted at Boston University showed that nearly 92 percent of former NFL players displayed posthumous evidence of CTE. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who signed with the New England Patriots ahead of the 2019 NFL season but never played in a game for the team, was diagnosed with CTE following his death after hitting his head while suffering from a seizure in 2021. Thomas had two recorded concussions in his playing career, one in college and one in the NFL: he also suffered minor injuries in a high speed car crash in 2019. Medical examiners at BU couldn’t determine whether his history of seizures, which began in 2019, stemmed from injuries suffered during the car accident, from his playing career, or some combination of both.

Some former NFL players diagnosed with CTE, like Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Wallace, were notorious for their fierce play and repeated head injuries as a result. Others, like former WVU and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry, who passed away in 2009 after falling out of the back of a moving truck, received a posthumous diagnosis despite never having gone on record with a concussion at any level of the game. It’s not like you have to have repeated concussions to develop the disease: subconcussive hits, which occur when the head is impacted (albeit not hard enough to cause symptoms at the time) could play a role in causing CTE in cases like Henry’s. Given the unpredictable nature of the disease, it’s nearly impossible to feel good about any outcome: you don’t want to hold your kid out of the game they love, but you also don’t want to take the risk of hurting their futures through head injuries.While I’m not a doctor, I’d recommend having a short leash if you let your child play football: if they have a concussion, immediately pull them from playing for good, as it’s obvious that any amount of brain damage can cause serious issues in the future.