I Won’t Let My Son Play Football

We all know football is a violent sport.  For most of my life that has been fine.  I like intense sports as much as the next guy.  I cheer when someone delivers a crushing hit or block.  I like football and probably because of the violence.  Football is not my favorite sport anymore.  I have changed over the last few years.  I think it started when I had my son.  Oh yeah, and after 2 football greats shot themselves in the chest to preserve their brains so people could see how screwed up they were.

I will not let my son play football.  I know some of you will think this is a pansy stance on life. I support him in anything he wants to do, but it is my responsibility to take care of him.  I would not allow him to participate in a demolition derby, and that’s really the same as football.  Violent collisions with the same impact as a car crash are common.  I just can’t reconcile this.  What if he turned out to be great?  I could be sentencing him to a lifetime of pain.  Exaggeration?  Maybe, maybe not.  I don’t want to take the chance.

Here’s an interesting article interviewing the father of Tom Brady.  This type of thing really has an impact on me.

Less than three weeks removed from the shocking suicide of former NFL great Junior Seau, and as the football community copes with what can legitimately be characterized as a concussion crisis, many concerned Americans are asking themselves a simple but question:

Would you let your son play football?

The answers, complex and quite personal, can provoke charged responses. Such was the case with former NFL great Kurt Warner, whose recent admission that he would prefer his sons not play the sport that made him rich and famous was met with rebuke by ex-New York Giants receiver Amani Toomer and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back and ESPN analyst Merril Hoge, not to mention numerous fans.

Shortly thereafter, I got a call from a father who spoke passionately in Warner’s defense.

It turned out this football dad had prohibited his only son from playing the sport until high school and, two decades later, isn’t sure he’d allow him to play at all if confronted with the same decision today.

“No, not without hesitation,” Tom Brady Sr. said. “I would be very hesitant to let him play.”

Though things worked out for the kid who quarterbacked the New England Patriots to the fifth Super Bowl of his future Hall of Fame career last winter, the elder Brady believes any responsible parent should be reacting to the growing research linking head trauma and degenerative brain conditions with gravity and concern.

Leave a Reply