By Ken Reed

“Imagine this: a pharmaceutical company invents a new drug. A drug with many benefits. It increases cardiovascular fitness, facilitates friendship, creates feelings of excitement, euphoria and community pride. As a side effect, however, the drug also produces varying degrees of acute and chronic brain damage in an indeterminate number of users, for reasons that are only crudely understood.”

— Patrick Hruby, from “The Choice: A Parent’s Dilemma: Should Your Child Play Football?”

As we approach mid-August, parents across the country are wondering if they should allow their children to play tackle football in youth leagues or at the high school level this year.

With all the news reports about concussions, brain trauma, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), concussion-related lawsuits, new research studies, etc., the decision is getting harder and harder every year for many parents.

Patrick Hruby has written an extensive piece about this important decision. In his article, he references numerous recent studies related to football and brain trauma. He also talks to medical experts and parents about the pros and cons of football. Some express pro-football views and some express anti-football views.

Basically, the piece provides a plethora of information for the parent (or athlete) weighing the advantages and disadvantages of playing youth or high school football.

Not everyone will reach the same conclusion but everyone should at least have the information needed to make a well-informed decision. Hruby’s award-winning article (selected for “The Best American Sports Writing 2014”) provides that.

The Choice. When you’re talking about America’s favorite sport, a national obsession, it’s hard to make an unemotional decision. Hruby’s article, and the sources he cites, can help parents do just that.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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