Do you let your 10-year-old son play football? Is 8-year-old Benjamin a star on his ice hockey team? What about your twins, Barbie and Biff, are they tearing up the soccer field?
Well, according to Bennet Omalu, the chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County, Ca., and an associate professor at UCal-Davis, you’re putting your child’s future at grave risk (link).
That’s because Omalu says, “It has become clear that repetitive blows to the head in high-impact sports such as football, ice hockey, mixed martial arts and boxing, places athletes at risk of permanent brain damage.”
And, here’s the kicker if you will. Omalu says the human brain doesn’t becomes fully developed until our kids reach the age range of 18 to 25 years old.
He also says it’s our moral duty as parents to wait for our kids to grow up, be provided with the information on the risk of play, and let them make their own decisions.
While I agree wholeheartedly with Omalu, his recommendations present a two-fold problem:
1.) Cash-strapped parents purposely place their kids in these dangerous sports in the hope that Little Ed or Tiny Tina will win a full boat college scholarship.
2.) In order to become a professional athlete in any of these sports, one HAS to begin honing one’s skills at a very early age.
It seems to me the only solution is a complete overhaul of the uber violent sports such as ice hockey and football. And, we know that’s not going to happen until the top brass at the NFL and NHL wake up to the fact that, without a steady influx of young, talented athletes, their sports are at grave risk of fading into oblivion.
I know it seems like an absurd prediction but, with more and more parents heeding Omalu’s advice (as well as the conclusive medical proof that multiple concussions DO cause permanent brain damage later in life), some major sports may disappear completely by the time Benjamin, Barbie and Biff become grandparents.