Should kids play contact sports?

Should kids play contact sports?

When you are a kid looking up to famous athletes from a variety of sports, the anxiety and excitement of growing up and being able to play a contact sport are waiting, but sometimes the wait is good. That extra five year wait could save a child’s life, development skills, and overall value of life. At any age, contact sports are dangerous, but as a child, that danger can be significantly worse. You would not let your child smoke a cigarette when he or she is 10-years-old, so why should you allow him or her to do something that allows the opportunity for possible damage to the brain? 

Keeping a child in sports and in that social setting that creates connections with teammates and coaches is a good thing, but that social connection can be made in other sports areas that are not as dangerous as contact sports such as swimming or tennis. If football is what a child dreams of, there are alternatives such as flag football in order to get the idea in his or her head but also to keep him or her safe. 

Doctor Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist whose discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was significant but also had a lot of pushback from the NFL along with other contact sports leagues. CTE is a progressive brain condition that’s thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion, causing players to have life-threatening symptoms and insanity that more often than not leads to death. Putting children in contact sports at an age where they are more prone to concussions is only starting the CTE progression at a young age. Dr. Omalu goes into greater detail about the negative effects of concussions and how they can impact adults but also a child significantly worse.

“Many papers have shown that all it takes for your child to suffer brain damage is just one concussion. But before your son suffers a concussion, there must have been hundreds if not thousands of sub-concussions. The damage is permanent because the brain does not have any ability to regenerate itself,” Omalu said. 

As a parent, a friend, or a coach, putting a child’s life in danger should be something that makes you uncomfortable. CTE is a quiet killer that if not watched and attempted to be prevented, many contact sports will be to blame for the damages that have been put on the youth.