Tackle Football: Too Dangerous for Youth Athletes? Would you want your child in elementary or middle school to have a head injury that changes his or her life forever? Everybody knows that answer: no. If you do not want this to happen then kids should not be able to play tackle football when they are in elementary and middle school. This topic needs to be taken into consideration by every parent with young athletes playing football. Children in elementary and middle school should not be allowed to play tackle football because they may get injuries that could negatively impact them for the rest of their lives. When Eric LeGrand was 20 years old he lost his way of life when he made a tackle against the Army Knights. His way of life was taken from him because he got paralyzed when he got a serious head injury that ran down his spinal cord. “He hasn't played football, or even walked on his own since” (Clarke). Now, he cannot chew, walk or move any body part under his shoulders. Many doctors believed that he was very close to dying. “LeGrand's journey from near death to well-known everyday inspiration and motivator has been a long one” (Clarke). Would any parent want their child negatively impacted just because of a dumb, silly, and stupid game? There has been a study done by ESPN shows that hits in pee-wee football are as severe as college. “A new study showing that head impacts among second-grade football players are sometimes as severe as those seen at the college level” (Farrey). The big hits in pee-wee and college football are very similar despite the age difference. These hits to the head will negatively impact them for the rest of their lives. To reduce this risk we need to cut down the time you’re allowed to hit in the week at practice. “Most of the severe hits in youth football occurred during practices” (Farrey). Lastly, the impact of brain injuries from the physical impact of tackle football last well into adulthood and can result in long term diseases. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE disease is very common to retired football players. “All CTE victims have had some kind of head trauma” (Sean). The symptoms of CTE are sudden memory loss and depression in middle age usually resulting in suicide. Junior Seau was believed that he had CTE disease and he committed suicide. Researchers have found a deep and disturbing association between CTE and America's most popular sport. In CTE there is a brown spot that appears on the brain itself. “The brown splotches represent the dreaded tau buildup in the brain. The brains are as brown as the pigskin itself” (Sean). Tau proteins are proteins that stabilize microtubules. The play-by-play announcer could be heard: “Eric LeGrand lines up next to the kicker. The kicker from Rutgers boots it away, and it is a booming kick. Army picks up the ball after a one bouncer. He is down to the 20 yard line. Oh my god! That was a big hit by Eric LeGrand and, wait he is down. It looks like he can only move his head. Six paramedics surround him. Everyone is taking a knee and is saying their prayers,” the announcer said into the microphone. LeGrand was permanently paralyzed when he made this tackle. That is exactly why tackle football in elementary and middle school should not be allowed. Young athletes may get injuries that will affect them for rest of their lives. Work Cited Clarke, Patrick. "Eric LeGrand Continues to Inspire as 2-Year Mark Approaches." Bleacher Report. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct 2012. Farrey, Tom. "Study: Impact of youth head hits severe." ESPN. N.p., 28 2012. Web. 26 Oct 2012. Sean, Gregory. "The Problem with Football: How to Make It Safer." Time Magazine. 28 2010: n. page. Print. "Tau protein." Wikipedia. N.p., 17 Aug 2012. Web. 12 Jan 2013.
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