I Don’t Think Kids Should Be Playing Football

You can find me outside coaching football most afternoons. No – not the gridiron style that you see played in the NFL. Our family plays the global game that Americans call soccer.

I’m not opposed to contact sports for kids. What I don’t particularly appreciate seeing are all the head-to-head contacts that happen in Peewee football leagues. I believe our community has excellent football coaches, yet they cannot prevent the mistakes that can lead to concussions.

One of my players had to leave football for soccer after receiving four concussions before turning 11 years old. That’s too many.

What You Need to Know About Concussions

Although kids are more resilient than adults when recovering from a concussion, my coaching work has discovered that many don’t realize these facts about this injury.

1. Concussions can happen without blows to the head.

A severe impact on the body can be forceful enough to whiplash the head to create a concussion. Those NFL football tackles at the youth level can create that injury.

2. Most people don’t lose consciousness after a concussion.

Most kids who experience a concussion don’t feel the traditional symptoms. That means it is up to the adults to spot balance problems, dizziness, or blurry vision. Even a simple headache can indicate an injury happened.

3. Concussions happen frequently.

Almost 200,000 kids were treated for traumatic brain injuries in the decade of the 2000s. Many of those incidents involved sports and recreation.

4. It takes time to heal.

There is no such thing as a concussion-proof helmet for gridiron football. If an injury occurs, it can take several weeks before an athlete is ready to return. Once that first concussion happens, people are six times more likely to have another one than those who have never experienced this issue.

I want kids to be active, and I don’t want them to hate football. But I also understand that all sports have risks. For me, playing gridiron football just isn’t safe enough.