I am a bad Dad
I am a bad Dad. Apparently, I have no regard for my son’s safety or future because I let him play tackle football. I say this as more and more reports come out about the dangers of concussions related to football injuries.
Maybe it’s because I played Pop Warner football as a kid. Maybe it’s because I cherish my memories of playing football in high school. Maybe it’s because I think my son might be good enough to play football in college. Or maybe it’s because I want to expose him to all sports as a child and let him decide which one will find HIM, if any.
My son has played basketball, baseball, gone to lacrosse camp, and recently said football is his favorite sport. I don’t know what the future holds for him. I don’t know if he’ll even play sports in high school. But as long as he wants to play, his mother and I will support it.
I understand the odds are against any kid playing college sports after high school. In fact only 2 % of high school athletes will go on to play collegiate sports. Your odds go up if you’re open to playing at the FCS, Div II or Div III level. But let’s see it for what it is. A scholarship to play athletics at the collegiate level is a chance to get a college education in return for playing a sport you love! It’s a dream, right?
Back to why I’m a bad Dad. Knowing what I know, I wouldn’t ever want my son to experience long-term problems from head trauma. But I am honestly more worried about his knees from playing football. I have had two knee operations. The first was playing football in my senior year of high school because of an ACL tear and cartilage damage. The second was playing baseball in my freshman year of college and it removed my ACL (I don’t have one) and about 2/3rds of my remaining cartilage. I’m staring down the barrel of knee replacement soon, so I don’t wish that for my 12-year-old. Yet I’ve had as many concussions as knee operations.
But football isn’t the only sport where kids can suffer head injuries. It happens in skateboarding. It happens in gymnastics, cheerleading, soccer, and even just riding a bike. Injuries in sports happen all the time. If he suffers any injury we’ll have to consider future problems from continuing to play that sport.
However, I honestly believe the rewards of playing team sports outweigh the possible risks of long-term injury. Team sports teach kids a lot about responsibility, sportsmanship, and life in general. A team (like a chain) is only as good as it’s weakest link. Is there anything more humiliating than being the guy who missed his block and allowed a sack? Conversely, is there anything better than being a part of a team that wins a championship of any kind, at any level? While he’s a kid, I want him to play whatever sport he’d like. If that means a trip to the emergency room one day, I’ll have to risk being called a bad Dad. Meanwhile, I just love being Jack’s Dad.
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