Harry Carson has spent his post-football life dealing with the effects of post-concussion syndrome, advocating for struggling former players and warning of the dangers of repetitive hits to the head. Now, the former New York Giants great and Pro Fooball Hall of Fame linebacker is saying he won’t allow his 6-year-old grandson to play football.
“I think that parents should think long and hard about what they’re signing their kids up for,” he says of football. “There is definitely a correlation between head trauma and problems down the line, whether it’s in older adults with dementia or young people with post-concussion syndrome. It affects their quality of life.”
What I’m interested here is not in debating Carson’s stance itself. What I’m interested in allowing those of you played and may deal with lingering effects to share your stories. Also, allowing those of you who have young sons and face that decision to discuss why you will, or won’t, allow your children to play football.
In my own experience, one of my sons was a backup quarterback for his Pop Warner team in his first year as a player. Initially, I thought that was a good thing. Until I realized he spent an entire season being a human tackling dummy for the first-team defense to beat the tar out of a few nights each week. Fifteen years later, with a great deal learned since then, let’s hope youth coaches don’t let that happen anymore.
This is really an open forum on the dangers of the sport vs. its benefits, whether enough is being done to make it as safe as possible for young people to play and for you to share you ideas how, of even if, the game can be made safer.