Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Preteen Reperconcussions

I'm hoping this doesn't violate copyright by copying and pasting, but on ESPN today Tuesday Morning Quarterback Gregg Easterbrook (full column here) posted an excellent section that I want you to read and it wasn't at the top of the column.

Should Youth Football Be Banned? Reader Adam Gadberry of Birmingham, Ala., notes this testimony last week about possible national legislation on youth-sports head trauma. One motivating force is this report, which finds that concussion incidence is underreported. Another is this report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which finds rising incidence of sports concussions in those 12 years age or younger.
Here's some advice from Tuesday Morning Quarterback: No one under the age of 12 should play tackle football. The brain case has not finished forming at that age -- pediatric studies show that those under age 12 are far more prone to concussions than those over age 12, and also that head trauma in youth has longer-lasting aftereffects than head trauma after roughly age 16. There's an emerging theory that many of what manifest as concussions in high school or college actually began as blows to the head in youth football, when the brain and brain case are more vulnerable.Why the latter? My guess is the recent fad for youth tackle football. There have always been Pop Warner games, but youth tackle has exploded in popularity in the past decade or so -- because football is so popular, and because rising prosperity allows more parents to fund leagues.
Moms and dads, don't let your kids play organized youth tackle under the age of 12! At that age, play flag football -- kids learn just as much, with a fraction of the risk. Which raises the question: Should youth tackle football be banned via legislation?
One youth tackle organization just announced it was partnering with the NFL to promote concussion awareness among very young football players. Maybe instead the organization should disband. And why exactly is the NFL, which continues to claim for the purposes of show to care about concussions, encouraging those under age 12 to play tackle football in full pads?

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