There is no longer any denying the link between youth who play tackle football and the increased potential for brain injury. For many years, there was a disconnect in what people believed to be the root causes of brain injury in youth. They did not want to admit that a simple game could go on to cause this type of dangerous injury. However, after the undeniable revelation that the NFL came up with proving that many football stars have gone on to develop issues related to brain injury, after retiring from the game, people are finally starting to take notice.
The Reasons Youth May Be More Apt to Suffer A Brain Injury
There is no denying the fact that children who play football are smaller than adults in the NFL. This leads many people to believe the impacts these children endure are lessor, and that should protect them from brain injury. However, the problem with that logic is the fact that the brain of a child is still trying to develop. It does not have the protective barriers in place that an adult’s brain would have, so even minor impacts can cause the equivalent of a traumatic brain injury in a child. When you add in the fact that children, simply by being younger and smaller, have weaker necks, then you can logically see how a child could end up facing just as significant of a brain injury as an adult in proportion to their body size.
What Has Been Done to Protect Against Brain Injury in Youth Football?
The many leagues of youth football have tried to implement new equipment and guidelines to prevent brain injury to the players. They have gone so far as to change the way children tackle and set up specific guidelines that must be followed before a child can go back into the game after any type of impact to the head. There are even advances in helmets to protect against brain injury. However, these are not always enough to prevent brain injury. Most parents do not believe that even a minor concussion can still be a significant brain injury. They only consider major impacts to fall under this category. This opinion could end up with more youth suffering from a brain injury than necessary.
The Long-Term Effects of an Early Brain Injury Need to Be Carefully Considered
Children do not have the capability of understanding the long-term effects of any type of brain injury, let alone a catastrophic one. All they see is them getting the chance to have fun playing a sport they love. They see the crashes, but until they actually get some type of a brain injury that affects themselves or someone on their team, the effects of this type of accident truly can’t sink in. Parents need to decide what is best for their child, and if the risk of brain injury outweighs the benefits that getting their child involved in a team sport can offer. While yes, there are great benefits to teaching children team sports and the aspects of teamwork that few other activities can offer, when should a parent have to decide between positive lessons and the safety of their child?
Brain injury can have short and long-term effects on your child. If they get hit playing football, just right, they could end up with effects that could last the rest of their life. While youth football programs have come a long way in promoting safety and preventing brain injury, there are still some important steps that need to be made to keep children as safe as possible.