Earlier D, wrote about the NFL Health and Safety Summit with USA Football and Heads Up football and her views on the subject of safety in football and in sports in general.
Check out this event video recap with words from Scott Hallenbeck, Executive Director – USA Football, Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth, PSY.D., AAPB – Head Injury Consultant Chicago Bears and Michael Brandt, Heads Up Player Safety Coach – USA Football.
With the comments made by the president recently regarding whether he would let a son (If he had one) play football really shows you the concern parents are having about safety out on the field. When I used to play (not that long ago) safety was really not at the forefront, kids received vicious hits and kept on playing, sometimes not even seeing a medical professional.
Now that the awareness and consequences of concussions are becoming better known, it is an imperative that parents become more involved in the sports life of their children. While I personally have no problem with either Rock or X playing football, I know that it is ultimately up to me to take an active part in ensuring that they are protected at all times.
Playing organized sports is something I feel every child should participate in, and no parent should fear one sport over another due to safety. Soccer has more concussions that in football, with that said, The leagues that run this sports have to organize themselves and start changing the “tough guy” culture that has permeated all levels of football. I am all for a hard hitting play but there is no heroics risking your life and body just for a game. This is a point that is missed by players, coaches and parents.
If Adults and Children see the players and coaches they emulate make those changes and more importantly push for those changes then maybe things will start to move in the right direction at the lower levels. I also think that this should include having professional medical personnel that are trained in diagnosing concussion and empowered to remove kids from the field (No just in football, there are plenty of plays in basketball where a player legs are taken out from him and he lands on his head on the hardwood floor).
Thankfully, all the changes above and more are only just the tip of the iceburg in terms of what the NFL and USA football want to do in order to make the game safe. During the NFL conference on Health and Safety that D and I attended, there were a number of different perspectives on what should be done going forward, but the most important one being preached by everyone was information. Parent and Coaches need to have the resources and information to make the right decisions. Ignorance should not be an excuse. This ignorance goes both ways though, for those parents who do not watch their children to participate in football and those who allow it but encourage or allow the “old” football culture and techniques to be taught.
When I played in high school part of the experience was of being a team, and watching each others back. This is a great place to start, as we as a community and nation need to foster this feeling on an even larger scale and watch the backs of all the adults and children playing what has become the new national pastime.
While I thank President Obama for casting a large spot light on the safety of our children and players, I urge parents to not remove or prevent their kids from playing football, rather, to usher the change that needs to take place within the game, if this doesn’t happen while it won’t be your child that gets hurt it will be someone else’s and ultimately nothing will get better.
Disclosure: I attended this NFL and Heads Up Football event and my accommodations were covered by them but as always my post is my unbiased opinions.