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 12:19 PM ^

  I also have 4 children , 2 of them boys and 2 of my children have had concussions. One fell off a step stool trying to get something out of the freezer and the other had a collision rolling on a  3 inch high push cart in their 1rst grade gym class.


  I've always been extremely active even as a little kid. I remember throwing on the gloves and boxing with my cousins and neighborhood kids since i was was in kindergarten. I played baseball and football until the end of high school when I decided to join the military. We never played soccer because we as kids decided soccer was the sport for kids whose Moms would not let them play football. Through all of this the worst injury I suffered was my nose broken twice, a tweaked knee and some lower back pain from a hit in football that lasted for about 6 month.

 I'm now 36 years old with no nagging football injuries. I have one sister but, I have 2 sets of brothers. Those that I played football with and those that served in the United states Navy. I would not give up either experience and would love for either of my boys to do the same.


 You guys already took dodge ball away lol leave football alone


May 14th, 2012 at 1:32 PM ^

I have not commited to preventing my kids from playing football, I have just made the decision that I will not put them into it.  When and if they decide they want to play, I will have to look into it further.  I feel, though, that each of us makes decisions for our kids based on our experiences and what we feel is best for them.  Many people work in the trades or in a shop, etc. and although they earned a good living, would rather their children take a different route.  Since you mentioned the military, that is a good example as well.  While I would be proud for my children to serve their country (although I would prefer a military academy to just joining after high school), I might not feel the same if I had served a tour overseas.  Our experiences change us.  I loved playing football, but I do have some nagging injuries and it is not like I played collegiately or professionally.  While they can be hurt in many ways, I would not be doing my job as a parent if I didn't at least consider limiting the highest risk activities. 

By the way, if you are so excited about being tough, why the Navy? 

Sorry, couldn't resist, I have two brothers-in-law who were in the Navy and it is a friendly dig.  I actually have a lot of respect for all of those who serve.


May 14th, 2012 at 2:51 PM ^

   it's those experiences tho both good and bad that help mold us into the men we became today. Personally I want my kids to live their lives and not being afraid of things outside of their control.

 As for why the navy. it was either the navy or the air force and the same sense of indestructability you mentioned in your first post led myself and 2 friends to enlist and try our hand at the seal program. Needless to say I became a Corpsman as the list of hazerdous duties required to enter the seal program didn't seem to appealing.  I remember thinking who in their right mind signs up to be a mineman. ( God bless all the ones who do)

 I do not want my kids to follow in my footsteps. I'd prefer them to be a lot better men and women than I thought possible growing up. I would not however; be dissapointed if they did.

 Lol and it was definitely taken as a friendly dig. I work in a hospital in a military town in Arizona. I get it all the time from marines who come in through the ER. I have a Navy lanyard that holds my badge and security keys that I have worn everyday for 7 years so I'm an easy target. I would prefer the service academys also but, it's like I told my Dad. Someones got to flip the burgers.


May 14th, 2012 at 5:36 PM ^

 Hell thank you for being a Marine. Fmf Corpsman here,6 years of active duty a good portion of that with the 2nd Marine Division, 1rst btn. I know, love and respect my Marines and the feeling was mutual. The joking only came about after my service had ended but, I still get the occasional call of Corpsman up and Doc when patients learn I was a HM. i don't like the corpsman up calls but, Doc always make me smile


May 14th, 2012 at 5:15 AM ^

The only time I've ever gotten a concussion was while painting a house. I  wasn't paying attention and smacked my head. Becuase of this the only logical recourse is to keep my kids from painting houses...

I refuse to take into account the numerous people that have painted houses without recieving a concussion. I should probably write news stories about the danger's of house painting concussions and scare others into keeping their children away from house painting! 






May 14th, 2012 at 9:18 AM ^

The only concussion I ever had was from a car accident, because some guy behind me wasn't paying attention. Since I can't teach everyone else proper driving, my children will never be allowed in any motorized vehicle. Maybe we can start our own website notifying everyone to the extreme dangers of house painting, motorized travel, and other terribly unsafe things.

panthera leo fututio

May 14th, 2012 at 10:11 AM ^

The danger of motorized travel is a bad example -- we accept >30,000 annual deaths and many more injuries as the basic cost of getting around. The extent to which this fails to generate any society-wide sense of urgency is absolutely crazy. It's very likely that technological improvements will at some point yield far, far less deadly transportation systems, and that the societies that use them will look back in bafflement at the human costs we used to take for granted.

My point: we accept certain risk levels that make absolutely no sense, and we do so out of misplaced emotional reactions (consider how we would react to 300 annual deaths from domestic terrorism, and compare to how we react to traffic deaths). The proper response to the risks posed by football injury isn't to shrug, say "Man up, shit happens," and continue business as usual. The proper response is to take a careful inventory of the actual human risks, and to see if it makes sense to accept them upon reflection. Very loose analogies to painting and driving are not particularly helpful in this task.


May 14th, 2012 at 3:53 PM ^

Though your post is well reasoned and I respect it, I draw the opposite conclusion. I think there is good reason we accept the risks of mototorized travel, including air travel--because the benefits to personal freedom to move, freedom to live where individuals wish to, freedom to work, and freedom to travel outweigh the risk of death from Plane Car and Boat. Society knows those risks and collectively accepts them in exchange for the benefits I listed, not to mention the economic growth travel engenders. 

Regarding football and those risks, all parents should decide for themselves regarding their children. But for adults, and for myself, I have no problem whatsoever allowing my kid or NFL players to play.The benefits to them, including all of the lessons taught by football, the enjoyment it brings fans, the employment it brings, and the money it provides is worth the risks--as long as those playing know the risk and accept it.Then, just like with auto racing, where the risk is even higher, in that case of actual death, I say as long as the participation is voluntary and we are taking sensible precautions, play on.


Sextus Empiricus

May 14th, 2012 at 10:53 AM ^

This is instructive  - but also misleading.  You probably wouldn't leave your 8 y.o. hanging from a gutter either.  I think this helps ferret this out though no doubt.

I played football through High School and honestly I don't remember the concussions I suffered though I had my bell rung many times I know.  I never saw a doctor about it that is for sure.  I played my last game in pads my senior year in H.S where I recieved less head shots as a WR.  

The issues are different for each individual kid and parent no matter how you paint it.


May 14th, 2012 at 5:35 AM ^

If you wouldn't let your son play, then you don't believe it's safe, and you shouldn't be watching others play. You should tune out and stop blogging about college football.

I'll encourage my sons to play, but I've always maintained that they won't play tackle until high school. 7-on-7's and camps until then. The brain is more developed, and by then they'll understand tackling technique. If they ever lead with their head, I'll pull them from a game on the spot.


May 14th, 2012 at 10:18 AM ^

but you can't learn tackling technique until you do it. It's like teaching someone how to ride a bike using roller blades. Furthermore, I've never even heard of a kid getting a concussion playing football before high school. I'm sure it has happened, but youth football isn't nearly as dangerous.

Doc Brown

May 14th, 2012 at 6:06 AM ^

Knowing what I know about traumatic brain injuries at both the macro and cellular level from my past research experiences, there is no way in hell I would let my kids play football. I would push them towards track, cross country, and soccer. There is way too many microconcussions that occur that would make me comfortable signing off on the permission slip. 


May 14th, 2012 at 9:16 AM ^

That's why you're a parent. You have to feel safe. Only comment: I really think there is a benefit to being on a team, and so I'd encourage soccer or basketball or lacrosse. While they can also be in track or cross country, there isn't the same level of teamwork and cooperation.


May 14th, 2012 at 3:56 PM ^

I was about to reply to your first comment re: soccer, until I read this. Having played soccer and football. I took more of a beating in soccer than football. That's not to say one is necessarily more violent than the other, it was just my experience. I would be interested in seeing data re: soccer and the amount of head injuries that occur.

I'm not sure how precise the soccer study can be though. With the VT football study, they placed sensors in the kids helmets and took data from that. Obviously you don't have that in soccer. For those that may not know. The VT study reported that there were several impacts of 8 and 10 g's. These were sandlot football players (9-10 yrs old I believe).


May 14th, 2012 at 7:27 PM ^

There is a lot of research around headers in soccer, and last week there was a segment on a Brian Williams TV show (can't remember the name of the program) that discussed concussions in girls soccer.

It is pretty interesting.  They said that concussions in girls youth soccer rank second to only the NFL.  This was specific to girls, and some signs show that girls with longer, thinner necks are more susceptable/likely to get a concussion.  This isn't really figured out yet--but they were saying that because the boys are stronger, the header may not have the same torque on the brain as a thin girl, with a long neck.  Additionally, the girls (14 years old, who had been playing since 6-8 years old) that were being interviewed had long term significant and chronic headaches (all said pain was a 6-7 on a scale of 10) all the time.  The common factor with these girls was that they actually played through the concussions--to the point of some posts on this board.  That better medical care could likely prevent long term problems. 

That is why this discussion and education is good all the way around, because if fat head parents and coaches just say "Stuff happens!" "I played and I'm fine" and "We just need to let our kids be kids"...and don't actually think and advocate for our kids' health, avoidable injuries will be higher. 

My whole thing is that head injuries freak me out because of the magintude of life change that they bring--not because I'm worried every time my kids play something.  My kids play soccer and softball--and you can bet that while I value all the lessons and the love they have for the game, I will be there to make them sit out if a head injury occurs.


May 14th, 2012 at 11:47 AM ^

Between cross country and hockey (2/3 of my sports from high school) the emphasis on teamwork and the lessons learned are not even in the same ballpark.

I loved running cross, I loved my team, and I loved our trip to the state championship meet, but I don't know anyone I ran with who considers XC more of a team sport than hockey, lacrosse, football, soccer, ect.

Minus The Houma

May 14th, 2012 at 12:13 PM ^

I think this can totally depend on the individuals and coach.  Of course inherintly sports like hockey, football, and lacrosse start higher on the team spectrum.  Just like one football team can focus more on teamwork than another.  In generalities I think you are correct but every situation is different. 


May 14th, 2012 at 12:20 PM ^

Generally, I wouldn't trust a cross country team to develop teamwork ideals in my hypothetical son. I hope he runs, I remain an avid runner to this day despite not competing, but the fact remains that en elite runner can win a meet, and go home with a championship trophy even if his teammates finish in the bottom four.

Denard didn't win anything in 2010 despite having the most impressive dual threat numbers since 2005, if not ever. If he put up comparable numbers in track, he'd have a national championship to show for it. That's the main difference, to me.


May 14th, 2012 at 9:34 AM ^

...and fortunately, he'll be all of five this year, so there will have been plenty of time for equipment improvements and even better techniques to evolve so that the risk of injury is mitigated further, but even at that, there are benefits to playing team sports like football such as teamwork skills and goal-setting skills that I would never want to discourage him from experiencing through sports, if that's what he wanted. 

Now, like others, I would probably encourage other sports (I played baseball myself) because of the potential for debilitating injury in football, but if my son was set on football, I wouldn't say "no". I would definitely want him to go  into it with a full, three-dimensional understanding of what can happen, of course, but this would be my feeling towards any sport. I would also try to ensure my own involvement with the team and the league to make sure safety was a priority - the game can be played with a relative level of safety without sacrificing anything, in my opinion.


May 14th, 2012 at 8:28 AM ^

and he has played tackle since 2nd grade. Football is the only sport out there for a tall kid whose hand eye coordination is slow to catch up. (i.e., flag and seven on seven, baseball, soccer, ect. don't work). I have a kid who loves exercise and playing sports, but his baseball, soccer, and lacrosse coaches all had a "hard time working him in because of his ball skills" while his football coaches want him on the field. I will say that last season was the first outside of the Pop-Warner age weight restrictions, and there are some big kids (especially with a year difference in middle school). So that made me a little worried, especially since there were so many who hadn't played before and only two coaches for 40 kids. We both hope the game is changing fast enough.


May 14th, 2012 at 6:59 AM ^

When i was a kid. I played fir 8 years

I have no injuries and most of my childhood motors relate to football.

My 7 year old starts this fall.

Yes fergodsakes.


May 14th, 2012 at 7:17 AM ^

I played from seven years old until three years into college, and I had one concussion. People wearing the equipment incorrectly is the major reason people get as many concussions as they do. (Of course some are just more prone to get head trauma) With there now being a major focus on this, concussions will go down. Rules changes (If a players helmet comes off during a play, that player will have to sit out the next play as if they were injured) will also keep people wearing the equipment correctly, because the last thing football players want is to come off the field. Plus, you will only foster resentment from not allowing your son the opportunity to try.


May 14th, 2012 at 7:25 AM ^

I would not have a problem with my son playing football.  People get all bent out of shape when a handful of former NFL players are affected by multiple concussions.  When we start seeing tens of thousands of former football players who only played high school or high school and college showing signs of debilitation, then I'll start buying into the hysteria about the dangers of football.

A lot of activities carry risks with them: skateboarding, skiing, riding a bicycle, riding a motorcycle, and, yes, playing football. I wouldn't try to prevent my kid from doing any of these activities.


May 14th, 2012 at 7:34 AM ^

Heavens to Betsy, no. I want my son to play badminton, table tennis, or checkers, but never football!!! Let the boy play football if he wants to. Boys do all kinds of wacky stuff where they can get hurt, football being less likely than the other crap whatever that may be.

Silly Goose

May 14th, 2012 at 7:37 AM ^

I would probably try to get my son to play lacrosse and hockey, both violent sports, because those are the ones I played. I know that my body type is simply not suited for football, but if they want to play I would say yes.


May 14th, 2012 at 8:38 AM ^

I have seen 1 concussion (in practice). In two years of lacrosse I have seen at least 1, and spoken with youth hocky parents who are on thier second concussion and speak of it like it is common in youth hockey to have experienced one by this age.

Maybe we were lucky. But I know the Pop-Warner coaches (dad's in many cases) made a big deal about keeping your head up, not leading with your head, paying attention to avoid injuries ect.  I would like to see them have concussion agreements like the schools now require for all sports, but I also like to think that coaching has made the game safer.


May 14th, 2012 at 4:02 PM ^

Our sandlot football league has been around for 12 years and (knock on wood) there has only been 1 serious injury. That's somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-7 teams w/20+ players per team over the course of 12 seasons. I've coached for the last 3 years and haven't seen a child show any signs of a concussion.

Coaching, and improvements in equipment have made the game safer.


May 14th, 2012 at 7:40 AM ^

My son plays football. He has played the last two years on the defensive line. In terms of teamwork, discipline, and physical fitness, football is great. Once it becomes clear that he is too slow or too small, or he is injured, etc., that'll be it. This coming Fall, he'll be an 11 year old playing in a 103 pound weight class.


May 14th, 2012 at 7:53 AM ^

Yes, the positives outweigh the negatives, just like they do in pretty much every sport. If he wants to play, then he plays. Agree with those who said if you won't let your kids do it, then don't watch it.


May 14th, 2012 at 7:53 AM ^

Let's not forget the benefits of sports for development and self-esteem (particularly girls, of which I have a one year old daughter). Kids do all kinds of stuff and there's danger everywhere (particularly electrical outlets and flights of stairs these days). As she grows up, I'd rather my kid was involved in sports, after that, it's really up to her to decide which ones.


May 14th, 2012 at 8:04 AM ^

I know I would make sure he knows proper technique, and I would attend al l the league meetings to ensure that proper technique is being taught across the board. I would do everythign I could to get a rule instituted that if a kid is leading with his head, going for the "kill shot" instead of using proper technique, wrapping up and putting his hat on the ball, that the kid must be pulled from the game until such time as he can learn to tackle properly.

A good football tackle is violent, jarring, exciting AND relatively safe.


May 14th, 2012 at 9:00 AM ^

I think this is the direction the game is going -- the rules for what consitutes an illegal tackle will expand, along with the other rules with regard to contact.

People will bitch and moan about how the new rules are ruining the game, but in the end it will turn out to be just as exciting as before, but with fewer concussions.


May 14th, 2012 at 8:07 AM ^

Most people will never be good enough to play past high school. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the rate of brain damage is pretty low unless you're playing into well into a professional career.

MGJS SuperKick Party

May 14th, 2012 at 8:22 AM ^

My parents told me that I could play football if I wanted, but my dad pulled me off to the side, and stated that it would be better for me to focus on other sports because of the wear and tear on your body. He never really warned me of the concussions, or broken bones, but more so in the knee injuries and broken bones he experienced and how it was affecting him today. I chose to play golf, and I can see the effect it had on my friends who played football who are requiring knee surgeries today, I am 23.

I guess that brings me to my point. I would support my child if they wanted to play football and I would let them play, but I would also warn them about the potential injuries that go along with it.


May 14th, 2012 at 8:33 AM ^

I let my son play as a 9 y.o. and coached his team as well. I played through high school and never had any serious injuries, whereas I broke my ankle and tore ligaments playing basketball as well as snapped my left achilles playing softball and snapped my right achilles playing hoops. Broke my hand playing baseball. Hip, pelvis, collarbone and tailbone all broken while sledding. At one point the family doctor pulled me aside and started asking questions about whether or not something was going on at home with my parents I had so many broken bones. Nope Doc, no domestic violence, just a kid who wants to play ball and have fun.

So yes, I'll let him play. The teamwork, accountability, hard work...they're all fantastic lessons for life to be gained on the gridiron, more than I ever experienced while playing any other team sport. 

I will not let him play, however, if the coach's last name is the same as the city Cedar Point is located. 



May 14th, 2012 at 8:42 AM ^

If by football you mean soccer. Honestly though, that's a decision he'll make on his own although I don't plan to enroll him in a pee-wee league.