The game of football has a serious problem and it’s been in the news for a while now. Players are experiencing long-term problems due to concussions.
Memory loss, dizziness, headaches, cognitive and emotional dysfunction, weird neurological diseases, like chronic traumatic encephalopathy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and even suicide.
Now, the problem seems to be taking its toll at the very earliest entry point says Pop Warner. Between 2010 and 2012, Pop Warner saw a 9.5% decrease (nearly 24,000 players) in the number of players. That marks the largest decrease in the history of the league. The Chief Medical Examiner says a majority of that decrease is because parents are worried about their kids getting concussions.
The question is should you let your child play football? The answer, of course, is complicated, because the question is complicated. It’s hard to know where to begin. What to believe. Who to trust. How to weigh the risks against the rewards.
So, why shouldn’t you let your child play football?
Researchers at Purdue University are slowly uncovering a far more serious problem. There is a real possibility that concussions are only the most obvious signs of damage and that even players without concussions suffer mental impairment during football season.
The Purdue researchers worked with Jefferson High School in Indiana and, in the first year of research, fitted 21 football helmets with accelerometers that would measure the impact of the hits they were taking.
Researchers did brain scans and cognitive tests on the players throughout the season. The findings, originally publish in the “Journal of Neurotrauma,” should send a shiver through anyone who loves the game. Nearly half the players who appeared to be uninjured still showed impairment in brain activity. The second year’s research, just recently released, shows more of the same. In all, of the 31 players who did not suffer a concussion, 17 had impaired scores on the cognitive tests.
The focused on this research has been obscured by the growing concern over concussions. There were many more stories about the deaths of former NFL players (notably Junior Seau) who committed suicide and was discovered to suffer from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is a form of brain damage common to boxers and now, football players.
So, why should you let your child play football?
Helmet to helmet hits are greatly diminishing. The helmet to helmet hit will never be totally eliminated from the game of football, but it has and will be significantly reduced. Unless you have been under a rock for the last three years, anyone involved with football has been made aware of the brain trauma associated with concussions. Therefore, coaches at all levels of football should be more proactive than ever in teaching proper head placement for tackling and blocking techniques.
Liability could be another reason to make the game safer. Coaches from Pop Warner to high school have been made aware that they could face potential liability for creating and/or encouraging unsafe methods, techniques and practices. I’m certain everyone knows the NFL is facing lawsuits from their own players, so what’s to stop college, high school or youth players from doing the same? The growing shadow of liability should keep those in charge (coaches, trainers, and conditioning coaches) honest about making sure the players don’t put themselves at risk, especially for head trauma.
Trickle down education for future players. The NFL is spending millions on educating youth players on the proper techniques of blocking and tackling. Programs such as Play 60 and Heads Up have reached tens of thousands of children already. Just like in rugby where it is second nature for players to tackle with their shoulder, a new breed of football player is emerging that’s better educated through camps and clinics on how to protect themselves, and their opponents from injury.
What we like to call “old school” coaches, are rapidly dying off. A lot of them taught to lead with butt of helmet. These coaches weren’t being barbaric but they were teaching techniques of the game that were taught to them. When Bill Walsh came on the scene and started winning Super Bowls with short, crisp, cerebral and non-contact practices, the football world took notice and started adopting his philosophy. In addition, as the game continues to speed up with spread offenses, coaches stuck in teaching strictly a physical brand of football are being weeded out and left behind.
Many in football mindset has changed. 2011 and 2012 will be known as the years where the NFL brand of football went soft but safer. Anybody watching noticed more penalties and more reprimands by the announcers when a hit seemed either too low, too high, unsafe and/or just too vicious. It’s just not cool anymore. We all still love a great hit but not when there is a risk of concussion or serious injury. Sure, there will always be a risk for injury but the risk of suffering a serious injury while skateboarding, surfing, and/or mountain biking may be even greater.
So, what should you do?
Football is fun. The game is inherently dangerous, rooted in violence and physical domination, hitting and tackling, knocking your opponent on their behinds before they do the same to you. More than four million American children will play high school and youth football.
Week after week, season after season, the sport teaches life lessons, rallies communities, provides excitement and entertainment for millions. At the youth level, most players walk away from the game with fond memories and without serious, lasting harm.
I am a huge football fan and I think my grandson Joshua would be a great player. The problem is my daughter Ebonii doesn’t want him to play football. I guess I’ll be buying a basketball. But I feel lucky that I don’t have to make that decision with all we know now.
As parents, grandparents or guardian I think we have to be careful and informed, but certainly not scared. Then and only then I believe you will make the best decision for your child.
Magic’s Jonathan Isaac stands for national anthem as teammates, opponents kneel
Orlando Magic power forward Jonathan Isaac became the first NBA player to stand during the national anthem following the season restart … deciding against both kneeling and wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt.
The league’s coaches, refs and players — from LeBron James to Zion Williamson — have been using the anthem demonstrations to raise awareness as games pick back up in Orlando … a gesture that is being supported by NBA commish Adam Silver.
Isaac became the first player to choose to stand as the anthem was played before the Magic’s match-up with the Brooklyn Nets on Friday … while the rest of the team’s players and staffers took a knee.
It’s worth noting — Silver says everyone will have the option to kneel during the anthem without consequence … despite a league rule requiring players to stand.
The same goes for anyone who wishes to stand — no one is saying the players HAVE to kneel, either.
So far, Jonathan hasn’t commented on his decision to stand publicly — because the game is currently being played. But, when he does, we’ll update here.
Charles Barkley spoke about the demonstrations on Thursday during TNT’s “Inside The NBA,” saying, “The national anthem means different things to different people.”
“I’m glad these guys are unified. If people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear. I’m glad they had unity, but if we have a guy who doesn’t want to kneel because the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified.”
The Magic released a statement in support of the demonstration, saying, “The DeVos Family and the Orlando Magic organization fully supports Magic players who have chosen to leverage their professional platform to send a peaceful and powerful message condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police, especially against people of color.”
“We are proud of the positive impact our players have made and join with them in the belief that sports can bring people together — bridging divides and promoting inclusion, equality, diversity and unity.”
Reggie Bush: Paying college athletes will ‘destroy some people’
College athletes getting paid for their services has been a worthy argument for a long time, but the NCAA finally supports a proposal to allow college athletes to sign endorsement deals and receive payment for their work after some of the best basketball recruits in the country have declared for the NBA’s G League instead of attending college.
While being paid for their work certainly is a step in the right direction, former NFL star Reggie Bush doesn’t think it’s such a great idea.
“Guidance is the one thing that young athletes coming through the college system miss on so much,” Bush told Playboy, according to ESPN. “I missed on it. They’re about to start paying college athletes. This is something that has never been experienced before, and it’s going to destroy some people if their foundation is not in the right place.”
A formal proposal for the new rules is set to be submitted no later than October to the NCAA board, and they will then vote on the proposal sometime before January 2021.
Bush was a two-time All-American running back during his days at USC, and helped the school win back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. He won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s best player in 2005, but forfeited the award in 2010 after the NCAA found that Bush received money and gifts from sports agents when he wasn’t allowed to do so.
The 35-year-old went on to have a successful NFL career after his collegiate days at USC. He played for the New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers before hanging up his cleats in 2017.
It’s weird to think that Bush is against athletes being paid for endorsement deals, especially considering he improperly accepted cash during his collegiate days.
Many college standouts will be able to use the money they earn to take care of their families, and that alone is a terrific reason why paying them is the right thing to do. They perform like professional athletes, earn their colleges and universities massive amounts of money and provide entertainment to fans, so why shouldn’t they be paid?
Victims In Kobe Bryant Crash Have Now All Been Identified
Here’s what is known so far about the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and eight other people.
Nine people were on board the Sikorsky S76 when something went wrong just before 10 a.m. Sunday.
The passengers were on their way to a basketball game when the chopper went down.
The helicopter’s flight path shows it going from Orange County to the San Fernando Valley and then hovering over the Glendale area as it waited for clearance to travel through the Valley to Calabasas. The tracking ends at the crash site in Calabasas.
Kobe Bryant’s 13-year old daughter Gianna was among those killed. Gianna — often called “Gigi” — was the second oldest of Bryant’s four daughters.
Bryant had coached Gianna’s AAU basketball team out of his Mamba Sports Academy training facility in Thousand Oaks for the past two years.
They were all reportedly headed to an AAU game when the crash happened.
In addition to Bryant and his daughter, three members of one family died in the crash.
John Altobelli was the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. His wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa were also on board.
The husband of Christina Mauser posted on Facebook that she died in the helicopter crash. Mauser was a basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, where Kobe’s daughter attended school. Mauser’s husband says he and his kids are devastated.
Sarah Chester and her middle school aged daughter Payton were on also on board the helicopter piloted by Ara Zobayan.
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