Jack WileyWord 103September 29, 2018Youth Football - Is It Worth The Risk?The incidence and severity of brain injuries suffered in youth sports has increasingly become a topic of interest not only by parents, but society as a whole. After all, who wouldn’t agree that a child’s health and wellbeing should take precedence over a football game? While numerous groups and individuals have spoken out on this topic, there appears to be no clear or definitive guidelines for parents to use when it comes to enrolling their children in youth contact sports. These inconsistencies are evident as they are reflected in two editorials on the subject, each expressing an opposing viewpoint. While Francis Shen’s editorial You Can Love the Brain and Football, Tootakes the stance that the benefits of youth football outweigh the small potentialof risk for players, Julie DiCaro’s article, Repetitive Hits, Concussion, and a Mother’s Long Goodbye to Youth Footballsuggests that parents should not permit their children to play tackle football. Although both writers offer valid points, DiCaro’s message is significantly more compelling and persuasive.Shen’s opinion, as discussed in his Minnesota Star Tribune article, You Can Love the Brain and Football, Too, acknowledges that head contact in sports can lead to brain injury and potentially cause permanent debilitating results. Despite this, he believes that the risks of playingcontact sports have been exaggerated and holds firm to the idea that the benefits of playing sportsoutweigh the potential risks. He attempts to demonstrate this perceived exaggeration by discussing an online survey he conducted in which respondents were asked to estimate how many concussions they would expect to see over a full season of middle school youth football that has the potential for 5000 possible head contact occurrences. Shen reports that while the “scientific estimate” is 3-7 concussions occurring during the season, survey respondents believed
that there would be 25 concussions. He maintains this exaggerated fear by the general public
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- Traumatic brain injury, Francis Shen