Letter to the editor | Let them play ball

February 4, 2014 

While I understand the trepidation any parent feels when allowing their child to play tackle football, I oppose any calls for a moratorium on youth contact football.

That was the position advocated by Lara Dolphin in her This I Believe essay, “Contact football too risky for youth.” (CDT, Saturday).

I am not oblivious to the dangers inherent to contact football. The nervous pit that takes up residence in my stomach anytime my son is on the field would attest to that.

There are dangers inherent to almost any sport. Are we to limit our children to activities in which there is no danger of injury?

The death of Owen Thomas was certainly tragic, but so much more is now known about the dangers of handling head injuries now.

Thomas was never diagnosed with a concussion. I am almost certain that he actually had at least one, and played through it. Junior Seau also was never officially diagnosed with a concussion, but admitted after his career that he had played through many.

That is where the real danger lies, and where the education of today’s athletes and coaches will make a big difference.

The dangers of playing football are real and are not to be taken lightly.

But I have also witnessed the benefits my son and many others have derived from playing football.

It is up to each parent to educate themselves and decide what is best for their child.

Kerry Shawley, Centre Hall

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