Do you let your kid play contact sports?

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Registered: 04-08-2008
Do you let your kid play contact sports?
Wed, 11-27-2013 - 2:34pm

I'm seeing a lot of stuff on Facebook about contact sports injuries in kids, specifically football, but then I seem to have a lot of friends who have kids in football.

What is your take on it? Football has been around forever, so why the sudden issue? My son wants to play next year and I'm just at a loss at which way to go.


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Registered: 09-12-2003
Sun, 12-01-2013 - 9:35am

We didn't do football. We went to sign oldest up when he was 5 but there was a wait list (guess not a big adversion to it here) We did get a call that there was a drop out a week before season started but when we got the schedule. with DH fall scedule and both our work schedules, it wasn't going to work. He wants to play but for now pop warner is out. He would have issues making the weight (too skinny) and they practice every night at 4:30 and we work until 5, plus there is a lot of travel and DH works 7 days a week in the fall. We have done flag football because they schedule is less.

Both kids have done hockey, oldest isn't doing it this year because he aged out of the in house so finding the same issues we had with football plus its $1500!! Youngest is just learning. I get a lot of looks but even if he doesn't play he learns to skate a lot safer then if I just put him in a learn to skate. In a plan old skating program all they are required to wear is a bike helmet, when you learn through a hockey program you have all the pads plus hockey helmets for kids have to have a face cage. I made this argument to oldest DS dr. He was born with a cleft lip and the surgeons weren't pleased with hockey to which we respnded of all the sports he has done its the only one his face is totally covered they ENTIRE time. Granted we aren't at the point where there is contact yet. Hockey they have to learn to skate, play the basics, and overall be comfortable on skates before they let contact in and then they teach them not only how to hit but how to take the hit.

Contact sports when done right aren't the issue. Or at least in mine opinion. I don't say now to them for the contact but usually its a time and or money thing. We do do baseball and known more kids get concussions from that then his friends that play football. Have a friend who's kid almost lost an eye from a line drive. The football thing I think has to do with all the attention given to head injuries in the pros. Our pedi now offers screanings, they take a baseline scan. It was only $25 and I was all for it (less for sports more for he has already cracked his head open being a kid twice) but DH thinks its over kill. I know there has been a lot about issues coming up with retired football playes but to get to the NFL  you have to play alot more competive then pop warner. I am for the scans because I think down the road it could lesson the stigma. If you have a guy who played 4 years in high school, if he got a scholarship then it was probably pretty competive in high school, then 3-4 years of playing in college with more intensity and then up to the pros for a few years which is even more intense the college and chances are he has taken a LOT of hits to the head. If his parents started getting scans when he started contact sports you could see the progression of any brain injury.

Problem is helicopter parents hear horror stories of retired NLF players and think no way, but reality is Johnny probably not going to play for a top college team let alone the NFL. Millions of kids have played pop warner and even high school and how many of them facing what these retired NFL guys are. Plus remember lots of these guys played when equipment was less. Part of our argument with hockey and DS medical team, they go to the toothless hockey player sterotype. In the US and I beleive Canadia, kids HAVE to have a face mask through college. Most of the toothless guys you see these days are older and foriegn. Not that long ago the pros didn't HAVE to wear helmets. Even in internation play, like the Olympics, younger players have stricter guidelines for head protection and seeing as more and more kids grow up playing with full face cages I wouldn't surprised if that becomes the norm.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-03-2007
Sat, 12-14-2013 - 11:31am

My boys (ages 14 and 16) play hockey, soccer, and lacrosse.  By FAR, most of their sports injuries have been from soccer, the only "non-contact" sport that they play--concussion, near concussion, sprained knee, sprained wrist, sprained ankles, black eyes, etc.  In lacrosse, one of them got a concussion, and one broke his arm in hockey, but it was on a non-contact play in practice--he literally lost an edge while skating on his own and fell awkwardly on his arm.  For lacrosse and hockey, they wear all the protective equipment, and are taught how to handle the contact.  Their coaches stress safe checking, heads up in the corners for hockey, never hit from behind, avoid head contact, etc.  There are risks inherent in all sports, and you have to weigh your child's size, personality, ability, and style of play when deciding if certain sports are right for them.  My younger son is VERY small for his age, but he's fearless.  He knows how to take and/or avoid hits in hockey, and he surprises a lot of opposing players with his physical play--he checks A LOT, but hits cleanly.  He plays a similar aggressive game in soccer (with a bit more contact than he probably should have in a "non-contact" sport), and I'm more worried about him injuring himself there since he doesn't have the protective equipment.  It's a judgment call on the part of parents, although hockey is an easier decision for me since my husband coaches and I know his philosophy on player safety and protection.

Our school does the baseline concussion testing for ALL students (not just athletes), and if there's any head injury, they re-check the kids, and they're very careful on concussion protocol--taking the proper steps to return to play after a concussion.  I'm all for that!  If the kids are going to play sports, it's good to know that the school and coaches are taking injury recovery seriously.