The hot topics around the NFL these days don’t center around position battles, coaching changes, offensive or defensive philosophies near as much as they do when it comes to concussions. Head injuries and player safety in general have turned the national Football League into an ongoing litigation battle league with current and former players. It’s as much of a political grandstanding stage of self serving agenda’s as it is a professional sports league . To be fair it’s not just Commissioner Roger Goodell but is it coincidence that all of the current court cases against the league are under his tenure? Ok don’t get me started on that rant, lets get back on track here.
One of the topics in relation to concussions and the violence of football is whether the coming generations of athletes will even be allowed to play. Concerned parents of young kids just starting out, both everyday people and NFL players alike have differing views.
Troy Polamalu talked recently in an interview that he would encourage his kids to play football regardless of the potential injury involved:
But Polamalu wouldn’t dissuade his sons from playing football. In fact, he would “absolutely” want them to play the game. Polamalu has two sons, Paisios (3 years old) and Ephraim (who will turn 2 in September).
“This game has provided me with a lot of beautiful life lessons, and I definitely would like my son to learn that,” Polamalu told The Fan in Pittsburgh, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “Because you’re not faced with the same type of situations in other sports as you are in football.”
Polamalu said he doesn’t know whether concussions will shorten his career. He does acknowledge that it has changed his view on football.
“Football has taught me and I’ve had this, I guess maybe kind of growing motto in my life, is to live day-to-day and never to take anything for granted,” he said. “I’ve been injured, I’ve missed large parts of football seasons and sometimes you get caught up in, ‘Oh man, OTAs or all this practice,’ but when it’s taken away from you, you realize how much you miss it. … Whether this concussion issue is really as big as it may seem to be, I don’t think it would really change my view on anything.”
For me personally, I’m glad Troy feels this way. Sports all level come with some degree of risk but it shouldn’t outweigh the benefits that come with it too.
My youngest son plays soccer and he’s learning about to play Goalie safely and effectively. He’s not naive about getting kicked in the head when he dives for a ball or twisting a knee when he plants to try to take off again. It’s a risk he’s willing to take and one that we’re willing to let him take because of the life lessons you learn. Working with a team, not being selfish, winning and losing graciously, and more all carry across any field of work.
Sure, soccer players aren’t getting injured in the same way that NFL players are but still, a blown out knee is a blown out knee. Even if it were though I couldn’t see myself not allowing him to try a sport that he had his heart set on. Every parent is different and far be it from me to tell anyone how to raise thier kids but I’m glad there are parents out there willing to let their kids enjoy the benefits of sports like football even with the risk of injury.