The NFL is in the middle of a concussion war. A war where they are caught trying to alleviate head injuries, while quietly denying they knew about them. It’s almost a “catch-22” Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league finds themselves in, with no remedy in sight.
However this debate is going into the lower levels of football. Into College’s, High Schools and the Pop Warner leagues around the country. Parents are jumping on board trying to make the game safer for children. It is a noble effort, yet as a parent that has been through this, it is also fraudulent.
Its understandable parents want to make the game safer. This has been going on in Little League baseball also. This is where we have added the faceguard to the batting helmet, some league have eliminated the head first slide, the curveball and the pitch count. Although studies are showing the curveball has more affect on the child’s arm than does the number of pitches.
Same with head injuries in youth football. Rarely do you see a player under the age of 13 have a head injury, or any kind of injury playing the game. It’s usually an accident when a player is injured, for example another player falling on the bent ankle of another player. It’s something you can’t plan for or even prevent.
Kids under the age of 13, for the most part, have not grown into their bodies yet. Sometimes you have a larger child, larger than all the others, yet he is usually un-coordinated and very clumsy. Then you have the over-aggressive smaller child. This kid likes to hit and thrives on it. With both instances, the child cannot muster enough energy yet to hurt anyone, let alone himself or the tackling target.
At this age kids go through the motions. They are learning the game and its fundamentals. If taught correctly, they understand tackling should take place by placing the head off to the side of the intended target and drive through the player with the shoulder while wrapping their arms around the player. That is a picture perfect tackle.
Sometimes players will bang heads. It happens on the football field as much as it happens in the backyard playing anything else. Accidents will happen anywhere. Obviously if a child is has tendencies of concussion-like symptoms, football may not be there sport. But head to head collisions, although prohibited, will still happen.
In Ohio, legislation aimed at protecting young athletes with head injuries is headed to the full Ohio House.
A committee passed the bill Tuesday with some changes. The Columbus Dispatch reports the bill is trying to balance liability and responsibility issues in the proposed rules. The bill would require pulling young players from action if they show concussion-like symptoms.
We actually need a bill for that? We need our legislative bodies to waste time on a bill of this magnitude? Kids are held out of games for whatever reason. Flu, soreness, vacations. It’s imperative we understand this and that injuries are part of the game.
We should never stop looking for remedies to injuries, but we need to realize we will never make it 100% safe. Injuries are part of the game, and the ability to play through those injuries are what kids learn from. We just need to add some common sense to the equation.
Not our legislative bodies.