Audio: The Solid Verbal - Would you let your son play football? with bonus MGoSurvey...

Submitted by Sextus Empiricus on May 14th, 2012 at 1:35 AM

This came out on the Solid Verbal this week (16:30 mark of the 5/9 show... ).

Would you let your kid play football?  They both said... no.  

It's slow.  It's's a survey...I'll post it as a comment if this html doesn't work...

It didn't work...on to the comments...who needs surveys when you have a board. I won't taint anyone's opinion in saying I would encourage the heck out of my son not to play, but would sign him up if he stood his ground. I'm trending toward no on this question...more and more each year.

Results as of 12:17AM A2 time 05/15/12

Yes -      59.1%- 202 votes

No -       25.4% - 87 votes

Maybe - 15.5% - 53 votes


It surprised me that the Solid Verbal guys would say no.  What would  Brian say  - now I'm thinking no ...but I'm making that up of course.



May 14th, 2012 at 7:02 PM ^

Hope your son is not that ball carrier...but if he is, tell him that he needs to put that ball in his other hand and secure it.  That is a fumble waiting to happen.  The defender has good position but is lunging a bit, however its tough to say for sure from this angle.  He should make that tackle easy and possibly get the ball too.


May 14th, 2012 at 1:38 AM ^

Yes, if played with correct technique the risk can be minimized. I gained a whole lot from my time playing, it really changed my life for the better. If my son or daughter wants to play and has the opportunity, who am I to take that away?


May 14th, 2012 at 6:37 AM ^

I respect your opinion but how can you minimize the risk by playing the game correctly. Playing the game correctly still results in jarring hits and it only takes one hit to do serious neurological damage... or in the case of football players in the NFL, thousands of little everyone is different.

Full disclosure: I recently have decided to not let my kids play football...sad


May 14th, 2012 at 2:10 PM ^

Note that I said minimize the risk, not eliminate the risk.

Getting out of bed also puts a child at risk of encountering situations that will eventually cause neurological disorders. Proper technique will minimize the amount of accelleration the brain experiences, but you are correct that all football player's brains will experience some accelleration. The real calculation that needs to be done is the same as any other life decision, risk vs reward. In my opinion the risk of developing serious neurological disorders from playing football with proper technique (e.g. avoiding head to head contact, no blows to the head, no clipping, ect) is lower than the potential reward from participating in a sport that is educational, challanging, and immensely satisfying. I gained so much self respect from my experience and developement during football that I became a much better student, citizen, and family member. I learned lessons about team work that I still apply today. I would hate to prevent my children from having the same experience.

If my child wants to participate I don't think the risk of developing neurological disorders is so much higher than normal that it justifies banning them from participation. Of course everyone has their own estimation of the potential risk vs the potential reward. For me personally, I don't think the extra risk justifies banning the sport and forgoing all the positives that can be gained from playing football.

Some here suggest that some sports offer safer alternatives, I don't doubt that many of the lessons I learned from football could have been learned from another sport. However, I did not have the opportunity or the motivation to play a sport for which I was unskilled and unsuited. Playing basketball at a high level wasn't an option for me, I have the physique of a wrestler. If I had chosen to play another sport instead of football I would have missed out on a lot of the value I gained by playing a sport for which I had both interest, motivation and skill. If my child is excited and motivated to play football, I will encourage him or her. I will demand proper technique be used in an attempt to minimize the possibility of neurological disorder as any parent should, but with the evidence at hand I cannot come to the conclusion that the increased risk is worth forgoing all the value that can come from football.


May 14th, 2012 at 10:07 AM ^

I'm not too worried about my unborn son(s) making it to the NFL. If they do, they'll be kickers. There's a universe of difference between playing middle and high school football and stopping, and playing until you're 35 and playing against genetic freaks for money.

It would take a lot to convince me my sons will suffer from long term brain damage if they stop playing football after high school.


May 14th, 2012 at 9:04 AM ^

Of course, your son can play whatever he wants, with your support. I do believe that of the sports you list, tennis has the least value in terms of teamwork. And while I really like baseball, it doesn't foster physical fitness on the same level as basketball, soccer, (and football.)


May 14th, 2012 at 1:26 PM ^

Still tennis and golf are the most useful sports in business relationships, and are a lot easier to keep playing long into your life. I loved high school base ball, but high school was the last time I found 18 guys to have a game. I did however go golfing with three dudes from work last Thursday.

rob f

May 14th, 2012 at 8:33 PM ^

I hear what you're saying.  I was able to scratch that itch, though, by playing softball--fast pitch, modified, and slow pitch--for many, many years after my last baseball game.  I last played regularly in a  slow-pitch softball league at age 45, at which point I hung it up in order  to have time to attend my oldest daughter's high school softball games.  I knew I could still play well enough at that point to go at it for a couple more years, but it was now her turn, and I'm happy that I was then able to not miss any of her games.

There are times I think about playing again (until my aching knees remind me to think better of it), but you're right about the golf and tennis, that's about my limit at this time.



May 14th, 2012 at 1:54 AM ^

I encourage them to find their passion...they like sports and never understood why girls don't play football (generally). I always have emphasized that they can do what they really want to...with that, one of them would love to play football. she is 8. I am secretly (not so much now!) happy that they won't really be given this opportunity. It's kind of shitty of me, because of how I want her to have every opportunity boys have. But, in this case I'm a huge hypocrite.
I wouldn't forbid it though. Like the previous poster, I would encourage other sports.


May 14th, 2012 at 9:13 AM ^

My son had two girls on his 9 year old team, and one on his 10 year old team. They both did a great job, and the boys didn't mind playing with them at all. One was a great linebacker, the other a good receiver. The reality, however, is that somewhere around 11 - 13, girls usually drop out. The reasons are varied, but mostly have to do with physical development. Once you start to go through puberty, things change. You start to see boys getting bigger and stronger, and girls developing physically in ways that don't help them competitively.

Your window of time is pretty small. If she wants to play, I'd encourage you to let her play. As an eight year old, she is very unlikely to get a concussion. And there is a strong, strong probability that she will choose on her own to drop out in a year or two. Better for her to play, to get the exercise, to learn skills and teamwork, then just to wonder what could have been.

And one question on your comment, "she really won't be given this opportunity." Is that because you won't give her the opportunity, or because it isn't available in your community? I can understand the former, but really doubt the latter. You really owe it to your daughter to check out youth leagues in your area. I would bet she has the opportunity, if you're willing to give it to her and to pay for it (maybe $350 for the season.)


May 14th, 2012 at 10:20 AM ^

I was just giving an honest answer. It would freak me out.

I'm a 48 year old who played baseball at 10 with boys. So I know all about girls getting the chance. she won't likely be given that opportunity because she plays softball (has a pitching coach with extra lessons) and club soccer. My other daughter wants to ice skate too, and we just can't do all of it..anyone who has kids understands the crazy time requirement for a kid to play just one sport. So trust me, I get the value of team kids love them too. Problem for this kid is that she wants to play everything, and out of all those things, her friends play other is pretty much the least opportune for a number of reasons.

Also, there was just a story (ABC? Brian Williams) that ran about the high rate of concussions in girls soccer. concussion rate is second only to NFL. So there's always something, right? As a parent, you just have to pay attention and look out for your kid, while giving them the best opportunities you can.

If it was the top one or two things, I would let her play. I'm just glad to not have to worry about it.


May 14th, 2012 at 10:40 AM ^

We have 10 year old twins, a boy and a girl. We literally have to divide and conquer, with me going in one direction with one kid, and my wife going the other direction. We have said no to some things because we just need a break. Two years ago, there was football and soccer concurrently, then winter indoor soccer for both, then baseball and soccer, then swim team, after which we were fried. I will say, at least where I live, the time commitment for football is more extensive than some of the others.


May 14th, 2012 at 2:11 AM ^

People who write questions like "Would you let your son/daughter...?" are obviously not parents. Yesterday, I was trying to play catch with my three year old son (I want him to play baseball) but he kept swatting the ball to the ground like a PBU, yelling "I'm Michigan!" while trying to tackle me, my wife and the cat.

Sextus Empiricus

May 14th, 2012 at 10:24 AM ^

Point taken... kids drive their own lives at some point - in some ways from birth...but they are also genetically keen on imitating and following their parents nature and their nurture.  To absolve that to nature only is not right.

I cracked my sacrum in pop warner - played through it - never had it diagnosed and have had recurrent lower back pain ever since.  I never even shared that with my parents in real time nor do I think medicine could have told better than to - give it a rest.  

It's not all about concussions but that is the driver at this point for most discussions like this.


May 14th, 2012 at 2:32 AM ^

No. There are plenty of sports that don't involve a strong likelihood of fractured and/or broken bones, muscle tears and/or sprains and a probability of head injury. Anything but boxing/mma and football.


May 14th, 2012 at 5:06 AM ^

 As a father, a man and a football player I find this whole discussion ridiculous.

My God this generation of overly sensative, P.C, Dr. Phil watching , Oprah loving, parent manual reading douchers have done nothing but raise self serving , disrespectful , hipster brats. Let em take chances and spank their butts when they need it



May 14th, 2012 at 8:00 AM ^

As a father, a man, and a former football player I find your comments insulting.  I am a father of four kids, including 2 boys ages 7 and 6.  While this is a generation that over-coddles their kids, I don't think that this is an either/or situation.  I let my kids wrestle, play baseball, and have no problem with them learning the lessons that come with winning and losing; with being good at something and with struggling.  However, while I did enjoy football, I also had 2 severe concussions my senior year in high school because the average mid sized high school not only has little to no medical support staff, but they often have coaches who fall into the "shake it off and get back in there" mindset.  Once a kid is in that environment, peer pressure and the invincible feelings of a young boy will keep them pushing through pain and believing it makes them tough.  I am definitely not going to put them into football, and if they ask to play I will have to make a tough decision.   


May 14th, 2012 at 8:20 AM ^

I am in the midst of that decision now, my son who is 9 is wanting to play football. He knows I watch it every fall and he wants to play. I have let him play hockey, but to date, there has been no checking and the only contact is usually some kids tripping over themselves. I love to watch football but I guess I am leaning to not letting him play. Tough choice, but I just don't see the benefit of allowing that much contact.


May 14th, 2012 at 9:00 AM ^

There are several suggestions I would make.

First, I would really encourage you to do your homework on the topic of youth football. Specifically, the risk of damage to a 9 year old playing Pop Warner football is much, much lower than the risk in high school, which is much lower than college, and much lower than the pros. There is a lot of talking on this topic, but also a lot of ignorance. Here are some practical suggestions on this first area:

  • Go to a number of Pop Warner games. The only downside is this would push you back a year and a half, but you have to do what you need for your peace of mind.
  • Check the statistics. It isn't that hard to Google, but here is a link to a Pop Warner site on football injuries: Here is a quote:  
  •   In Pop Warner Football, there is “an absence of catastrophic head and neck injuries and disruptive joint injuries found at higher levels.”

    The injury rate in Pop Warner Football is

    less than one-third the injury rate in high school football (AND) less than one-fifth the injury rate in college football (AND) less than one-ninth the injury rate in professional football.

    Furthermore, Pop Warner's age-weight schematic protects younger, lighter players, who do not have higher injury rates. 

  • You may be wondering how it could be that there are no catastrophic injuries among 9 year olds, who seem more vulnerable. The reason is quite simple, and obvious after you watch the games. Kids that age aren't very fast, or very strong, or very big. When you have kids who weigh 80 - 85 pounds tackling each other, and not going as fast or hard, it is very difficult to really get your bell rung.

The second area I would really challenge you in is the watching of football. If you aren't willing for your son to play football, it is the height of hypocrisy for you yourself to watch and follow football avidly yourself.


May 14th, 2012 at 9:22 AM ^

"If you aren't willing for your son to play football, it is the height of hypocrisy for you yourself to watch and follow football avidly yourself."

You win the Douche-Quote-of-the-day-Award®


This parent is obviously concerned about the long term injury risks to his child, putting his "feet on the path" to more advanced (dangerous) fotball participation as he grows older is probably not a good idea.  


May 14th, 2012 at 9:24 AM ^

I don't quite see it as the height of hypocrisy but I will admit that I have contemplated not watching football anymore.

Is it hypocritical of me to watch any sporting event, if I don't want my kids to participate? I really don't think that is the case. Maybe if I was coaching or if I was somehow involved in the sport personally.

I enjoy watching the winter olympics but but don't want my kids to do any of the tricks while flying down the mountain side. I like seeing some of the skateboarders doing cool tricks, but I make sure my kids don't go out and try to ride down some rails. Is it really hypocritical of me to watch an event while not wishing to participate?

I think you made some good points on pop Warner, but your conclusion in the final paragraph is a stretch.



May 14th, 2012 at 10:48 AM ^

Used to watch Evel Knievel as a kid....doesn't mean I want my kid to be him.  Or any other death-defying stunt performer.

I think most of us have watched reality tv. I hope most of us don't want our sons or daughters to be on Jersey Shore or the like.

And considering it's Kass, it may not be a problem for him, but for the rest of us, while we may watch porn....

Minus The Houma

May 14th, 2012 at 10:51 AM ^

I would say it is fair to call it hypocritical. As long as it is someone else's kid playing it is fine. I see it being the same as the "not in my backyard" sentiment. And when you said the things you don't want your kids doing I got really sad b/c those are all the activities I pretty much loved the most.


May 14th, 2012 at 3:44 PM ^

The "why not just let them play Pop Warner" argument is silly, and if you think ahead it becomes obvious why. What do you tell your kid when it turns out he's pretty good and the high school team wants him to try out?

I'm not a parent, but I was a kid once, and I'm pretty sure being told "no football, go play baseball instead" at age 9 would have gone over a lot better than being allowed to play for a few years and then told I had to quit just when I was getting good.


May 14th, 2012 at 9:48 AM ^

You have some skin in the game. Sorry about your concussions. I do have a couple questions:

  1. Did you play youth football? If yes, help me understand why you wouldn't let them play when they're 8 - 11. The statistics are pretty clear that concussions aren't happening at that level of play. My personal observation is that there is a huge difference and risk between an 8 year old and an 18 year old playing ball. What's your opinion on that?
  2. Is there a reason you don't have your kids play basketball, lacrosse or soccer? My son's strongest sport is baseball, but that is mostly because he is a natural lefty with a very strong arm, so he has a future, at least through high school, with pitching. While it is his best sport, he doesn't get the exercise or develop team skills the same way he does in soccer and football. My experience with swimming, running, soccer, football, baseball, ballet, riding, and basketball is that some of these are much better at developing team play, some at physical exercise, and only the few mentioned are particularly good at both.


May 14th, 2012 at 10:32 AM ^

Part of the problem is the environment.  You mentioned the building of teamwork, but I wonder if you ever played football.  I earned 7 varsity letters playing 4 different sports and I can tell you that there is something different about football.  (although to be fair the things we did in wrestling were probably more dangerous) I never saw anyone taking painkillers before a baseball game, and never saw a coach line up two kids and have them run head first into each other from 10 yards as a punishment in basketball.  There is a mindset in football that you have to be a brainless gladiator. 

True story -

On my second concussion my senior year, we were running through the walkthrough practice the day before the game (shorts, shoulder pads and helmets), and as I ran around the end, the defensive player grabbed my jersey (because I couldn't be hit) and spun me around to throw me to the ground.  In a fluke deal, he spun me off of tmy feet and ended up slamming to the gound head first.  I blacked out and when I came to the coach was yelling at me to get up and back to the huddle.  He was showing me a card with a play drawn on it that he wanted me to run, and I swear to you the lines seemed to be moving all over the page and I couldn't make any sense of it.  His response was to put the card down and just verbally tell me what to do.  I of course played the next day.  When I talked to the coaching staff on Monday about my symptoms and how I didn't remember most of the game, they told me not to go to the doctor because they would automatically tell me to take two weeks off and they couldn't afford to lose me. 

Before you tell me that I just got a bad coach, I defy you to show me a football coach that isn't a meathead.  Most coaches secretly admire the kid who doesn't admit to pain and battles.  Kids pick up on this and it feeds a nasty cycle.  You can tell me all you want how there is more monitoring of injuries, but the football mindset will always encourage kids like me to ignore symptoms and be tough.  That mindset starts in youth football and grows as you progress.


May 14th, 2012 at 12:12 PM ^

how long ago was that though?  im heavily involved in my areas youth and HS programs. The coaching and practice styles have changed dramatically in the last 10 years and are only getting safer.  For example, if we see a kid get his bell rung hard or it looks like he might have a concussion.  Theyre taken off the field and not allowed to return until theyve been cleared by a doctor.i know all the teams in the area are required to do the same.


May 14th, 2012 at 4:14 PM ^

We have the same rules where we play. For the poster to say, 'show me a football coach that isn't a meathead' and the mentality is to 'always' ignore symptoms and be tough. That's rediculous. I have coached my son in football and baseball over the last 3 years and that just doesn't happen. There may be cases of it, but it surely isn't the same today as it was 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago.


May 14th, 2012 at 7:39 PM ^

I just have a hard time believing that decades of a certain mindset are suddenly going to change over the course of four or five years.  I coach my kids too, and while I do agree that there are a lot of really good coaches, I just think the football environment is always going to  be tilted towards the meathead.


May 14th, 2012 at 10:57 AM ^

These are honest answers from a dad who is paying attention. Good for you.

Over coddling is bad..sticking your head in the sand is worse. You can call me whatever you want, but i'm not letting my kids (8 year olds) play in the front yard without me there, just because "when I was a kid" I would run all over without my mom knowing where I was. Times are different-we are just better informed because times are different (media and increased research/experience).

Culturally, we love football. Im a 20 year M season ticket holder, and live 2500 miles know I love football. That doesn't mean I'm thrilled if my kid wants to play it. I would never want any of these guys to have the long term injuries many of the college/pro guys suffer from..but as a parent, I do worry about my own kid at a different level. That is my single most important job.


May 14th, 2012 at 12:35 PM ^

 Being a father is an important job. Part of that is also allowing your kids to grow up, make their own choices and be responsible for those choices. You can't always be right by your childrens side. You need to instill a sense of right and wrong so you can be comfortable they make the right decision.

 Your kid will suffer some kind of injuries regardless of if they play football or not.

 To me it's like not allowing your kids to date for a fear they'll get their heart broken.


May 14th, 2012 at 7:13 PM ^

However, they are not mutually exclusive of my points.  I would not disallow it--I would worry.  Just like I worry because my kid is on the pitching mound and a ball *could* get their teeth smashed in by a line drive.

About a year and a half ago, Bree Evans--M softball player--dove into home and had a serious neck injury.  Thankfully she is okay, and obviously stuff happens in every sport.  The potential is there for me to walk out of my house and get hit by a car.  However the nature of football is violent, and there is an obvious increased potential for serious injury.  Everyone can come on and say "I played and I never got concussions."  That's great--and most people do play without serious injuries.  The potential is higher though, and some parents will worry about this.  duh.  Acting like they're crazy for that concern is kind of mean and insulting. 

Everyone is likely to have a broken heart--but how many parents are critical of the guy their daughter is dating because they want the best for their kid?  This is kind of the same thing, I suppose.. again, I wouldn't disallow it--I would give it consideration and be concerned.  Its difficult to control who your kid loves--or what sport they are passionate about, but parents worry.  Its our job.

So, I get the whole parenting thing--instill the right stuff and let them choose their path.  That is totally in line with my parenting style.  Meanwhile, I'm not encouraging my 8 year old to play football.  That's all.