Should parents allow their child to play tackle football?

    Revealing studies have shown a clear connection between football and brain damage

    More stories from Parker Reed


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    Even with all of the recent studies showing conclusive evidence that football can cause brain damage, it remains one of the most popular youth sports in the United States.

    Football is about taking hits, showing no mercy for the player opposite you on the goal line and never showing a single sign of weakness. It is also the most dangerous major sport in the United States.

    According to, 1.4 million traumatic brain injuries occur annually in the United States. Of those 1.4 million, the age brackets with the highest risk of suffering from a traumatic brain injury are zero to 14 year olds and 15 to 19 year olds. This happens to be the age in which children and youths begin to play organized sports for the first time.

    The game of football is one of the roughest in the world. It is commonplace for players to take blindside hits and repeated blows to their thin helmet. The National Football League (NFL), according to the New York Times, revealed in federal court they believe one in three NFL athletes will experience brain trauma after they end their football careers.

    Brain damage and playing the game of football have been proven to go hand-in-hand. The damage affects adults significantly, so what kind of effect does playing the game have on children and their developing minds?

    The website, reports that a young adult’s minds stop growing on average at 25. That means that a child between the age of seven or eight (a common age for kids to begin playing organized sports) has a mind that is under constant construction and development. And by playing the game of football, the child is under great risk of causing damage to themselves at an extremely crucial age.

    This fact raises the begging question for parents: Do I let my child play tackle football?

    On one side of the coin, it can be selfish of the parent to deny their child the right to play the most popular organized sport in the nation. Every single year, the NFL, along with every other level of football, continues to gain immense popularity and naturally children want to be a part of that excitement.

    On the other side, allowing a child to play football in this informed day and age can be viewed as irresponsible. In a world where there are safer alternatives like baseball, basketball and a wide range of other available sports for youths, allowing your child play tackle football is viewed by many people as morally wrong.

    In response to that, a lot of hardcore American football fans might say they know it is a rough sport, but the NFL and leagues all around the world are working to make the game safer. New regulations to benefit player safety are exponentially being added to the foundation of the sport. And for those who don’t believe the NFL is ever going to change, just look at football 100 years ago.

    Before the NFL was even organized, college football was the main venue for football. It was so violent, bloody and brutal that more than 10 people died in a single season due to injuries sustained during gameplay. The league decided things needed to change, and flash forward to the present day, things have improved dramatically.

    Common sense provides the notion that these two sides of the youth football coin won’t soon agree completely on what to do about this issue, but there may be a solution both sides can live with.

    Children under the age of 10 don’t have the mental efficiency to decide what is best for them. Their parents shouldn’t allow them to make their own decisions when it come to their safety, so the best bet is to not allow them to play tackle football. Flag football could be a good alternative to the brutal nature of tackle, and it could also buy children the time until they reach an age where they would be best suited to start playing football.

    High school is the time in a lot of adolescents lives’ where they begin to find out who they are and what they want. It is also the time in which they should be able to decide if they want to play tackle football or not.