Monday, May 14, 2012

Parental Advice: Remember to Text While You Drive

Can you imagine parents saying to their child, "remember to text while you're driving."   But with what we now know about the medical consequences of concussions inflicted on a developing brain, that advice is akin to saying, "be sure to play football."

How many local sports reporters are asking PTA leaders and parents in general whether they are concerned about the risks of children playing high school football?   How many local sports reporters are examining how coaches are being trained to minimize the risk of concussions?   How many local sports reporters are checking each and every high school to see how the school is tracking concussions?  How many local sports reporters are examining this serious public health issue?

Research at Purdue shows even when there are no concussions, players perform more poorly on basic memory tests as the season progresses.   Why would a parent want his/her child to play a sport with such a documented record of causing brain damage?

I admit, I have been a football fan, and when my son was in high school I certainly would have let him play (I'm glad now that he didn't).  But with what we now know about the risk of concussions from football, there's no way I would allow him to play.   That would be like saying, "don't wear your seatbelt, be sure to text while you drive, and remember to start smoking."

High school superintendents and college presidents remain nearly totally silent on this issue, so have the majority of local sports reporters (cheerleaders).  My prediction is that mothers will not.  Educational leaders may not care about the damage caused by brain concussions; mothers do.

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