Should kids be allowed to play football?
via AP

Should kids be allowed to play football?

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With more data released about the link between CTE and tackle football, parents are faced with a choice on whether or not to let their children play football. Children's brains are developing, and putting them through head trauma so early in life could cause irreparable damage. However, sports teaches important life lessons, and the game is getting safer with better tackling techniques and equipment. What do you think? 🏈

People have become so accustomed to seeing grown men hitting one another they forget that children subject themselves to the same punishment. With chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) linked to football, parents should reconsider letting their kids play football.

A child should not endure that kind of punishment in a very sensitive development phase of their lives. If they love their children, parents should not allow their kids to play football.

With recent CTE studies, people have been focusing on the negative aspects of playing football. However, playing football teaches skills like blocking, catch, and throwing. More importantly, it teaches life lessons.

Kids learn discipline, hard work, and teamwork when they play football. For a lot of children, football is the carrot on the stick that gives them an incentive to do well in school or behave. If the game was taken away from them, a lot of kids would be getting into trouble. Football gives children an activity to keep them occupied. Football should always be available to kids of all ages.

Youth football obviously doesn't subject kids to the same level of impact that you find in professional leagues, but kids still take massive hits relative to their size. Dr. Alex Powers, a pediatric neurosurgeon, studied these hits and saw changes in brain matter. The effects of those changes will take years to determine, but when a brain is changing due to constant trauma, that should be a red flag for parents. 

Parents have a responsibility to keep their children safe. Children may not know the risks, but adults do. With so much data pointing to evidence of brain damage caused by football, parents should keep their children away from the sport.

Zackery Lystadt took a hard hit and stayed down on the field. Like so many players, he got up, sat out two snaps and continued to play for the rest of the game. But as the game was ending, Lystadt collapsed and was wheeled to the hospital to relieve the pressure that built up inside his skull.

This is a story that could have been prevented if he wasn't on the field in the first place.

If the President of the United States doesn't want his kid to play football, you know there's something wrong.

People act like youth football has been sitting on their hands since the studies about concussions have come out. Organizations have actually adjusted curriculums and exercises to make the game safer for kids.

Heads Up Football, run by USA Football, was created to teach youths how to properly tackle—so kids can protect their heads from injuries. USA Football also adjusted games to reduce the risk of getting hurt by eliminating kickoffs and punts, having fewer players on the field, etc. With organizations making efforts to improve the game, parents should rest easy knowing their kids are safe.

Football is being targeted because it has the most violent hits, but kids risk head injuries in every sport. Women's soccer players actually suffer the most concussions per contact by athletes in the United States. Should people ban soccer to prevent kids from getting hurt? No, of course not.

There are ways to make the game safer without banning kids from playing football.

Kids learn so much from playing football. Aside from dedication, hard work and teamwork, football also teaches goal setting. A lot of kids don't know how to set goals until they play. When they are on the football field, they have a goal to meet, and a task to accomplish. They can take those lessons and apply it to school, work or other parts of their lives.

Football is important to kids, and parents should not deny them the joy of playing the game.

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