Football + brain = A good reason not to play

Rise and Shout the Cougars Are Out!

I grew up watching football games with my family. BYU and Utah were the big teams in my house. Cougar Stadium in Provo, Utah, has one of the most beautiful views of any stadium I’ve been to.

Lavell Edwards Stadium 1
Photo by Kenny Crookston/BYU © BYU PHOTO 2008 All Rights Reserved.

I went to one of the famed Harvard/Yale football games while I was in grad school, but for the most part I slowly stopped watching football after I graduated from college. If a game was playing on TV, I would leave the room.

For me, the most worrisome part of the sport was how violent it was. I really couldn’t stand to watch men crumple on the field after a smashing hit. It felt gladiatorial.

Repeated Hits to the Head Damage the Brain

Well, it turns out my gut reaction wasn’t wrong. Repeated hits to the head are being found to be the cause of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease that’s being discovered in NFL players. You don’t even need to get a full concussion to experience change to your brain structure, and cumulatively subconcussive hits can devastate brain function.

Learning firsthand how miserable a concussion is, turned me into a brain advocate. I want people to protect their brains so they don’t have to experience the misery of losing their short-term memory, balance, word-finding skills, ability to read without resting, pain, or incomprehension, and so much more.

Should I Allow My Kid to Play Football?

With a lot in the news about the brain and football lately, parents are no doubt asking themselves whether their kids should play football or not. That’s going to be an individual decision, of course. However, it’s important to know what football does to the brain to be able to make the best choice for your child. It’s especially important to consider brain development in making sports-related decisions.

Everyone needs to protect his or her brain, and it’s even more crucial to protect kids’ brains because they are still growing and forming the connections that will define the rest of their lives. The Concussion Legacy Foundation recommends delaying, limiting, and modifying contact to delay the inevitable brain damage.

If you need any more convincing, this video gives you more facts about the brain and more from my brain injury story. You only have one brain. Take good care of it and stay safe out there!


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