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Drew Magary says you're a fool if you let your kid play football.


SenorGato

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Frankly, I think I agree. It's f'n dangerous.

Question:

Are you going to let your son play organized football? We have a debate going on in our office since late fall about this topic. There are fathers of all ages with children ranging from kindergarten age to high schoolers. Most of the older kids play football and their fathers are adamant it was a "character building" experience that made them tougher and taught them teamwork. Most of the Dads with younger sons point to the recent medical reports that show small but constant blows to the head are as damaging as one big blow that results in a concussion. To them it doesn't make sense to expose their boys to almost certain brain damage now that we have better medical data and understand the damage being done. Other sports also build character, instill toughness, etc. but don't involve getting your brain turned to mush.

Answer:

I would never encourage my kid to play football. That whole "character-building" angle is a huge load of sh*t. People who have played football aren't suddenly imbued with more character that people who haven't. Look at me. I was a football benchwarmer for 10 years. Do I look like a man of high moral standing to you? Any rational person knows that plenty of football players are DICKS, who think that playing football made them men of superior character, when in fact it has clearly distorted their egos and made them far worse. The whole notion of "character building" is a flimsy argument when thrown up against the piles and piles of medical data that suggest that football will murder your ******* head. Discarding all that evidence and being like, "Yes, but it'll make him a MAN!" is idiotic. No sane American parent would encourage their child to play football.

They have a youth football league in the D.C. area and some of the kids that play start from ages as young as seven and eight, which blows my mind. There's no point to tackle football at that age. No kid is better prepared to play ninth-grade football if they played in fifth grade. Everyone in ninth grade is still trying to figure out who the hell to block.

Even if you used every advanced piece of safety equipment and you taught your kids to never lead with their head, they'd still go out there and put their heads down. NFL players have a hard time helping themselves when it comes to putting themselves in harm's way. And those are grown men. Kids, who are far stupider, are gonna happily discard those precautions for a chance to look all tough for daddy. And there's no guarantee your kid's pee-wee coach is gonna be a normal, logical person who wants the kids to be safe. Chances are, he's gonna be a ****HEAD, some macho dipsh*t who makes first graders run the Oklahoma Drill because he couldn't get a job coaching the d-line at the regional high school. Most youth coaches are morons at best and demented pederasts at worst. Kids that age should be playing flag football, and then moving onto tackle football in high school if they feel like it.

If my kid wanted to play football and was hellbent on playing and was old enough to make his own decisions, then maybe I'd be all right with him playing. You wanna go out there knowing all you know about this sport and what it does to people? Fine. Natural consequences, kid. But to actively want my kid to play football? No ******* way. It's Competitive Ballooning for Drew Junior!

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My son didn't play when he was really young. I don't like 8 and 9 year old's playing personally.

No reason to start the kids that young. I started both my boys at 12.

Personally I have a thirteen year old son I sorta wish didn;t want to play football. Not built for it. Then I have another son who if he doesn't play football I got no idea what the hell I would do with him. LOL

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The only way I think I'd let my kid that hopefully doesn't exist play is if he specifically asks to play football, and like you guys only when he's 12+. It's just a f'n deadly sport...it's a deadly sport with a pro league that, for the most part, doesn't seem to give a damn about the long term health of the players.

I actually REALLY like basketball for young kids...basketball and soccer. Basketball because it's a sport that's all about athleticism and body control (the key ingredient to mastering your athleticism) and soccer because the conditioning is good for a kid. Of course, my issue with soccer would be that it's teaching my kids to be a little...European. Baseball is good too, but I wouldn't let the pitch until maybe he's maybe 10, and he's not throwing anything but fastballs until maybe the junior/senior year of HS. Still though, basketball takes the cake when it comes to teaching a kid how to move athletically.

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Only bad injury was a blown out knee. Used to run a 4.6 second 40 , now I can't break a 5 seconds. Wouldn't trade it though it was a lot of fun.

As for kids playing it no. Not until high school when the body is a bit stronger. It's not a hard game to pick up. My kids will be encouraged towards baseball

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I wasnt allowed to play organized ball till I was bigger. First season off pop warner was 7th grade, so, 12-13? Played baseball and basketball when I was younger. Both my older brothers played since they were young and are all ****ed up from it. Bad knees, ankles, shoulders. So Moms wasnt having it. Wouldnt let me.

You have to be a special breed to play Football your whole life. I quit after sophomore season. Hated practice, especially in FL w/ 90+ degree weather for the entire season. Coaches were dicks and I played TE in a triple option. Shooting jump shots in a nice air conditioned gym was just so much more fun.

I dont have kids, but if I did, I'm not sure I'd let them play till High School to be honest.

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I'd have no problem with my kid playing football. i agree with Drew about the character thing...that's nonsense. Coaches just say football builds character to justify them yelling at you more.

I played tackle football from 5th grade through high school. Practice was hell, my coach was John Voight from Varsity Blues...but yeah Im still pretty close with a bunch of guys I played with 10 years later.

I'm glad I played....plus nothing beats football from an in game experience. Football just felt bigger than any of the other sports.
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Gotta say even though I've spent a lifetime playing several, I don't know if I'd want one of my kids playing anything where he's getting hit in the head that often. Play some basketball or pick up a glove, illegitimate son of RutgersJetFan, you'll live longer and you won't have sudden bouts with dizziness in random places.

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this is where the game is going to start declining, on the early levels including high school. It's one thing for a pro like David Harris to make the call that the big money is worth what he's doing to his body and brain.

It's another for a child, for free, to mash his brain up for nothing. or "character building"

and this is coming from a person who played pee wee, jr high, high school and even a couple years in college. Knowing what we know now, it's not worth it. I consider myself lucky I didn't play more. There were gamedays where after the football game was over, all I could do was sit on the couch with a blanket like a 75 year old man, usually with a crazy headache.

I do believe we are witnessing the current peak of the sport. and in the coming years it will decline, like Boxing or Horse Racing.

I am not confident in a silver bullet of some kind of magic concussion preventing helmet will save the day. The brain is inside of the skull, a bigger or different helmet doesn't change that equation.

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. Football just felt bigger than any of the other sports.

it was bigger cause there was more physically at stake. It was risky (and it still is). As society evolves, the risk tolerance goes down.

just like how there are still people boxing and racing horses there will still be football players. Just not as many.

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My son played for a while, and then finally last year he gave it up to concentrate on Baseball (which is his best sport). I never forced him to play nor did I force him to quit. But to be very honest I was happy when he said.."I'm done with Football dad".

As for me.....ankle never really healed....knees hurt...shoulder hurts.....lower back....on and on....advice for the dads to be, or with really small ones...steer your kids away from football!

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this is where the game is going to start declining, on the early levels including high school. It's one thing for a pro like David Harris to make the call that the big money is worth what he's doing to his body and brain.

It's another for a child, for free, to mash his brain up for nothing. or "character building"

and this is coming from a person who played pee wee, jr high, high school and even a couple years in college. Knowing what we know now, it's not worth it. I consider myself lucky I didn't play more. There were gamedays where after the football game was over, all I could do was sit on the couch with a blanket like a 75 year old man, usually with a crazy headache.

I do believe we are witnessing the current peak of the sport. and in the coming years it will decline, like Boxing or Horse Racing.

I am not confident in a silver bullet of some kind of magic concussion preventing helmet will save the day. The brain is inside of the skull, a bigger or different helmet doesn't change that equation.

Agreed. But I can tell you it won;t be for a lack of effort at the High School level. Last year with baby Crusher we had to take an online concussion test together before he could pad up. They have an entire set of protocols for judging if the kid had a concussive event or not. His school bought all new helmets for the boys and on giving them out they held another symposium talking about concussions. They even have a trainer look at the "hudle" game tapes and make notes on hits.

They have mandatory sit out times for questionable events and both cognitive and physical testing for the players return. I 100% agree you can;t take that out of the game but at the same time education and proper management does help some. At the high school level they are at least trying, at least in Fairfax Va.

I'm torn because I have both boys playing and really would prefer my younger boy Sal would not. Joey I have no choice in the matter cause he has made his decision and as a father his passion is admirable. But with Sal I try to discourage him, I do. His mother and stepfather committed together to take him to the mounatin skiing three days a week and weekends because he's a very good skier, does super g and slalom. But he sees that admiration Joe gets and wants to play. he will be a freshman in the fall and deep down I wish I could get him to do something else. That's truth.

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this is where the game is going to start declining, on the early levels including high school. It's one thing for a pro like David Harris to make the call that the big money is worth what he's doing to his body and brain.

It's another for a child, for free, to mash his brain up for nothing. or "character building"

and this is coming from a person who played pee wee, jr high, high school and even a couple years in college. Knowing what we know now, it's not worth it. I consider myself lucky I didn't play more. There were gamedays where after the football game was over, all I could do was sit on the couch with a blanket like a 75 year old man, usually with a crazy headache.

I do believe we are witnessing the current peak of the sport. and in the coming years it will decline, like Boxing or Horse Racing.

I am not confident in a silver bullet of some kind of magic concussion preventing helmet will save the day. The brain is inside of the skull, a bigger or different helmet doesn't change that equation.

this is where the game is going to start declining, on the early levels including high school. It's one thing for a pro like David Harris to make the call that the big money is worth what he's doing to his body and brain.

It's another for a child, for free, to mash his brain up for nothing. or "character building"

and this is coming from a person who played pee wee, jr high, high school and even a couple years in college. Knowing what we know now, it's not worth it. I consider myself lucky I didn't play more. There were gamedays where after the football game was over, all I could do was sit on the couch with a blanket like a 75 year old man, usually with a crazy headache.

I do believe we are witnessing the current peak of the sport. and in the coming years it will decline, like Boxing or Horse Racing.

I am not confident in a silver bullet of some kind of magic concussion preventing helmet will save the day. The brain is inside of the skull, a bigger or different helmet doesn't change that equation.

You are absolutely 100% right my friend!

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My son played for a while, and then finally last year he gave it up to concentrate on Baseball (which is his best sport). I never forced him to play nor did I force him to quit. But to be very honest I was happy when he said.."I'm done with Football dad".

As for me.....ankle never really healed....knees hurt...shoulder hurts.....lower back....on and on....advice for the dads to be, or with really small ones...steer your kids away from football!

Great post and I agree 100%. Unfortunately neither one of my boys have a reasonable second sport. Sal never liked baseball and is ok at basketball. Baby Crusher is a very good wrestler and doesn't like baseball . Football is his love. In a very big way.

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it was bigger cause there was more physically at stake. It was risky (and it still is). As society evolves, the risk tolerance goes down.

just like how there are still people boxing and racing horses there will still be football players. Just not as many.

it was bigger because more people cared. No one was coming out for a high school baseball game.

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Agreed. But I can tell you it won;t be for a lack of effort at the High School level. Last year with baby Crusher we had to take an online concussion test together before he could pad up. They have an entire set of protocols for judging if the kid had a concussive event or not. His school bought all new helmets for the boys and on giving them out they held another symposium talking about concussions. They even have a trainer look at the "hudle" game tapes and make notes on hits.

They have mandatory sit out times for questionable events and both cognitive and physical testing for the players return. I 100% agree you can;t take that out of the game but at the same time education and proper management does help some. At the high school level they are at least trying, at least in Fairfax Va.

I'm torn because I have both boys playing and really would prefer my younger boy Sal would not. Joey I have no choice in the matter cause he has made his decision and as a father his passion is admirable. But with Sal I try to discourage him, I do. His mother and stepfather committed together to take him to the mounatin skiing three days a week and weekends because he's a very good skier, does super g and slalom. But he sees that admiration Joe gets and wants to play. he will be a freshman in the fall and deep down I wish I could get him to do something else. That's truth.

Crush..I see your situation....my ex-wife basically "steered" my son toward football. At that time I was against it, but I did not step in and say to my son "No"....I knew I should have when I was carrying him off the field, into my car and to the hospital at 10pm doing MRI's and xrays on his leg...Thank god there was no injury! He played up to HS ball, is sophomore year and then after the season was done, he was done and just want to play baseball.

Hopefully you can get your little guy into another sport like baseball....give it a shot and hope it works out for you!

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Crush..I see your situation....my ex-wife basically "steered" my son toward football. At that time I was against it, but I did not step in and say to my son "No"....I knew I should have when I was carrying him off the field, into my car and to the hospital at 10pm doing MRI's and xrays on his leg...Thank god there was no injury! He played up to HS ball, is sophomore year and then after the season was done, he was done and just want to play baseball.

Hopefully you can get your little guy into another sport like baseball....give it a shot and hope it works out for you!

Little Sal never played baseball past little league. Just doesn't like it. The skiing he loves but it's only a winter thing. He loves football but is not built for it at all. My two boys are 23 months apart. One is 6'0 295 pound killer and the other is 5'9 125 pounds soak and wet. Tuff kid but I do worry about him. baby Crusher I mostly worry about the other kids, LOL

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Little Sal never played baseball past little league. Just doesn't like it. The skiing he loves but it's only a winter thing. He loves football but is not built for it at all. My two boys are 23 months apart. One is 6'0 295 pound killer and the other is 5'9 125 pounds soak and wet. Tuff kid but I do worry about him. baby Crusher I mostly worry about the other kids, LOL

Yeap I know....My son is 6-3 and 205 lbs and 16 years old....A tightend and OLB....last year, he caught a pass over the middle and it took 4 kids to bring him down....on D, the QB tried to sneak through a gap, and my son, blindsided him and look like the kid was out before he hit the ground...so yeah I know where your coming from. Hang in there, and hopefully he will just say to you...Dad...I'm done! P.S. by the way I had a daughter that played football as well,most of the boys thought is was a boy with long hair!...she finally gave it up...but he saw her brother doing it and thought "I can do it too"....

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I do believe we are witnessing the current peak of the sport. and in the coming years it will decline, like Boxing or Horse Racing.

Disagree. Where the majority of the talent comes from in the NFL, its under privledged areas of the country where its literally a scholarship or gang banging/blue collar work for the rest of your life. Its still viewed as an out in those areas and Friday Night, is still the biggest night for the town.

As far as the peak of the sport....I doubt it. I dont think there are any participation issues in the south...where the majority of the talent is coming from anyways.

Exactly. Take FL and Texas for example: many of the rural areas of those states still thrive on High School Football. The sport at the collegiate level, is bigger than the NFL in many instances. These kids see it as an out and for that, it will always remain extremely popular. Factor in the NFL's efforts to protect the players and the risk reward is still there and very much in favor of the reward.

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Disagree. Where the majority of the talent comes from in the NFL, its under privledged areas of the country where its literally a scholarship or gang banging/blue collar work for the rest of your life. Its still viewed as an out in those areas and Friday Night, is still the biggest night for the town.

Exactly. Take FL and Texas for example: many of the rural areas of those states still thrive on High School Football. The sport at the collegiate level, is bigger than the NFL in many instances. These kids see it as an out and for that, it will always remain extremely popular. Factor in the NFL's efforts to protect the players and the risk reward is still there and very much in favor of the reward.

Good post. The more effluent areas like the DC suburbs do everything they can to prevent those types of injuries. So I think the kids still end up ready to play.

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Yeap I know....My son is 6-3 and 205 lbs and 16 years old....A tightend and OLB....last year, he caught a pass over the middle and it took 4 kids to bring him down....on D, the QB tried to sneak through a gap, and my son, blindsided him and look like the kid was out before he hit the ground...so yeah I know where your coming from. Hang in there, and hopefully he will just say to you...Dad...I'm done! P.S. by the way I had a daughter that played football as well,most of the boys thought is was a boy with long hair!...she finally gave it up...but he saw her brother doing it and thought "I can do it too"....

I have three daughters none of them ask about playing football cause they have smelled baby Crusher after practice. Probably turn them queer. LOL

Baby Crusher will play until he can't. Just the way it is. Starting Varsity in a big program as a freshman and being made the sophmore captain this year solidifed in his mind this is what he wants to do. All I could do is train him properly and take care of him best I can. Being a ex world strongman competitor and power lifter he caught my bug for weight training so thats a good thing for him. On his 16th birthday he squatted 405 for each year of his like. In two sets. LOL

My son Sal is the one I really worry about. Small thin and not naturally aggressive. But he's got wicked hands and really good feet. But every time he gets popped I get nervous. With the success his brother has had I don;t see him giving up anytime soon. I do wish he would.

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if football only attracts poor and regional participants that's a decline. Especially if high schools in the west coast and northeast start shutting down programs. You don't get the Andrew Luck's of the world in that scenario.

remember 100 years ago boxing was the best thing in the world. Kids used to box in school. Playground disputes were settled with gloves in the ring.

Now it's mainly a poor and regional sport, popular in foreign lands where the appetite for risk is higher (sound familiar?).

no one can really tell when we are a peak but the way parents are these days, it seems like the only place for the sport to go is down. How much more popular can this thing get, especially when USA is the only country in the world where it's even a thing?

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if football only attracts poor and regional participants that's a decline. Especially if high schools in the west coast and northeast start shutting down programs. You don't get the Andrew Luck's of the world in that scenario.

There's really nothing indicating that this is happening though.

This is from 2009

With an increase of 4,017 participants, 11-player football again was No. 1 for boys this year with 1,112,303 participants, followed by track and field (558,007), basketball (545,145), baseball (473,184), soccer (383,824), wrestling (267,378), cross country (231,452), tennis (157,165), golf (157,062) and swimming and diving (130,182).

From 2011

For the 12th consecutive year, the number of boys playing football in the United States is greater than the combined number of boys playing the second- and third-most popular sports, according to a report by the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS).
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if football only attracts poor and regional participants that's a decline. Especially if high schools in the west coast and northeast start shutting down programs. You don't get the Andrew Luck's of the world in that scenario.

Ummm...but it doesnt. Let me know when High Schools get rid of the Football programs - then you'll have a point. But meanwhile, kids are still playing Football in the middle class, upper middle and upper class schools. Its still there, they still play, its just not viewed as the way out in those locations. My point was, even if those High Schools started getting rid of their programs (which they wont) the rural area's of country that still live for Friday night are abundant enough to sustain the popularity of the sports. Its not like the fact most of the talent comes from different areas is anything new. Its been common throughout the history of the sport.

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Let me know when High Schools get rid of the Football programs - then you'll have a point.

My point was, even if those High Schools started getting rid of their programs (which they wont)

the science is just barely arrived. Wait a few years we will see lawsuits like crazy. here's a question how can a high school insure their football team against million dollar liabilities?

it was different when no one knew the risks. The equation is changing, whether we want it too or not. I don't expect a web site of die hard Jets fans to agree with me that the game of football is waning... just calling it like i see it.

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the science is just barely arrived. Wait a few years we will see lawsuits like crazy. here's a question how can a high school insure their football team against million dollar liabilities?

Kids have been getting hurt playing football for decades.

Look at a football helmet....there's warnings all over it. Its a play at your own risk sport and always has been.

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Let's say there is enough talent from the poorer regions to sustain the sport.

What do the demographics become for advertisers? why would cadillac and IBM pay millions of dollars to advertise their luxury level products to people in poor regions? It becomes more like Nascar and less like the current NFL.

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the science is just barely arrived. Wait a few years we will see lawsuits like crazy. here's a question how can a high school insure their football team against million dollar liabilities?

Actually I have to disagree. The high school makes it mandatory you participate in educational symposiums and get your signature that you understand the risk. Kid could not even participate until you took the concussion test and had a sports physical that cleared them. I could see College offering more than scholarships if a trend starts removing high school programs. It's a business after all. Last year Baby Crusher school had 117 kids show up for varsity. Fairfax is a very affluent suburb of Washington DC and I saw nothing that suggest it fading.

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the science is just barely arrived. Wait a few years we will see lawsuits like crazy. here's a question how can a high school insure their football team against million dollar liabilities?

Doubt it. Consent forms and stuff. Its not going anywhere. The popularity of the sport is at an all time high. Hell, the NFL is trying to go international.

40 years ago, people knew, if you played Football you could could get hurt. 40 years later, people know, if you play Football you can get hurt. All sceince has done has made us realize that the ramifications can last a life time and its heightened the level of awareness.

But people have know forever that Football is a dangerous sport. Science hasnt taught us that. Common sense has.

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