Berkshire County parents, I have a question for you.

Are there any sports you don’t allow your kids to play?

I ask because according to a recent study, half of all Americans (50%) think tackle football is inappropriate for kids to play.  45 percent think it’s appropriate for kids to play, and the other 5 percent aren’t sure.

Football players in a huddle on the field with their coach.
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In the past ten years or so, football has really come under a microscope as far as how concussions and brain injuries affect those playing, from youth sports to professional.  And, while it varies county by county, overall participation in youth tackle football has started to slowly decline in recent years.

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Certainly, there’s many studies out there that suggest youth football could be harmful, especially in the long term.  The longer you play, and the younger you start, the more potential there is for serious brain injuries.  However, all sports present some sort of inherent risk.  You can get hit in the face with a baseball (I have).  You can tear your ACL playing soccer, or break your arm wrestling.  You could crash skiing, or get your nose broken being elbowed in basketball.

Young Boy Playing Baseball In Park
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On the flip side, playing sports has a multitude of benefits for young athletes.  You learn teamwork.  You generally stay in better shape than if you didn’t play sports.  They can boost self-esteem, and many student athletes perform better in school.  They keep you doing something positive with your time.  I played sports as a kid, and don’t regret it at all.  I hope my son starts playing sports also when he’s older.

That said, as a parent, I’d hesitate if my son said he wanted to play tackle football, and I know my wife would also.  While all sports present an inherent risk, there’s something insidious about brain injuries, especially because many times it’s hard to know their impact until later in life.  The number of times you get hit in the head playing football is greater than any other youth sport.  So, if I’m being honest, I’d have a hard time letting him play tackle football.

However, as a parent, I’m certainly not in the business of telling other parents what to do.  Nor is this meant to be some sort of attack on football.  If you or your kid wants to play it, go for it.  But, reading that survey about half of all Americans feeling it’s inappropriate for kids to play tackle football got me thinking about what I would or would not allow him to play.  So, how about you?  Do you agree or disagree with that study?  Are there sports you don’t allow your child to play?

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