Next Sunday a huge percentage of our population will be watching the Super Bowl. I won’t be one of them. I will actually be seeing kids in Cincinnati, or I would probably be one of the millions watching the game. I honestly try to watch the Super Bowl more as a piece of cultural literacy than out of a great passion for watching the sport. My passion for organized football ended in junior high school in my very first and last “organized” football game. My coach directed me to go in and “take out” a player on the other team. I proceeded to walk off the field, never to return.
This morning, Sunday January 25, on ABC News- This Week, I heard George Will make some meaningful statements about football, statements that mirrored my own thoughts. George Will said, ”The most important letters in football are not NFL, but CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, the cumulative impact of brain damage of small unrecognized, unrecorded impacts in a game that is inherently dangerous.”
My boys wanted to play football, but I would not permit it. Spending your life trying to fix brains tends to give you tremendous respect for an intact healthy brain. If we are fortunate enough to have healthy children, we really need to do everything we can do as responsible parents to protect and nourish that brain. We parents are responsible. These decisions as to whether our children engage in inherently dangerous activities are not their decisions to make; they are ours. In like manner it’s not our children’s decisions as to whether they eat healthy food or do the things that are required to learn responsibility or to develop their brains or become educated. As adults they can make all the decisions they want; but responsible parents do not abdicate important life altering decisions to children who are ill equipped to be making such life altering choices. As parents you can decide whether or not football is safe and establish your own opinions on nutrition, education, and everything else concerning your children; but you need to be the one making the decisions, not your children. In the end you are responsible for the consequences; they just have to live with them.