I played Pop Warner football when I was a kid. Quit shortly after starting due to a cracked rib. Both my sons wanted to play football, but I forbid it based on my experience. They both gave me digs about the ban every chance they got. I didn’t care. I’m not here to be best pals with them. I’m here to teach and protect them.
My oldest son has a 10 year old sports freak who wanted to play football (in addition to soccer and baseball). My son said no and called me afterwards to thank me for not letting him play football. Priceless.
Granddad played Center for the first UC Berkeley Golden Bears, and was lucky and knew it to have escaped serious injury. Dad was forbidden to play and forbade me and sibs.
Mom was Prez of the UW Student Body in 1944, and in doing what she saw as her “job” discovered that the “football ethos” at UW included not only violence, but also alcohol abetted coercive sexuality with co-eds. When she tried to take steps to protect the targeted women she was “pushed aside”, and one assistant coach went so far as to ask her what she thought was the reason for allowing women on campus?
I was allowed to play Rugby in college, and loved it. But for gladiator sports I much prefer bullfighting, where the stakes are vividly clear.
My father played football at Cal during the Depression. The players got a couple of free game tickets which my father sold to help support himself. He said a ticket for the Cal-Stanford game would go for $25!
I played midget football at age 10. Safety. LOL I got run over in one game and it hurt. I was ready to quit. My coach a 45 year old guy kicked me hard in the ar$e in one practice session. I called him a few days later telling him I quit.
What happened I took my time going up to the line of scrimmage during one play because I was curious what the QB was doing. Also played right guard. I am down on the line and the next thing his boot up my behind. I am ten years old.
Parents today would want him up on charges. He was 45 years old. He must have been a clueless ejit.
Played football in JR high and high school. Loved it and loved the violence.
While football gets all the press about CTE, there are plenty of other sports that are suspect as well: soccer (some leagues ban heading the ball), hockey, and lacrosse (girls didn’t wear helmets until recently for fear of increasing violence), and rugby to name a few.
Bottom line, we are constantly learning more. While we can make the sport safer, it will never be safe. True of any sport, just have to pick your injury profile and risk. Personally, don’t think tackle football should be played until high school. If I had kids and they wanted to play, I’d let them but at the same time would definitely be checking on the protocols the team/school/league used and if not appropriate they would not play.
FWIW, I have more chronic injuries from non-contact/non-violent sports than from football. Fortunately non debilitating just aggravating at time.
I still remember reading this book when I was a 9th grader in my 1st year of football. And when our coaches lined us up to do a “tackling” drill where we lined up opposite of each other, about 10 yards apart, and were made to run full speed into each other, no swerving or dodging allowed, I started to seriously question the wisdom of playing football. It was a real life physics experiment ( F = M*A). A common phrase heard during and after this drill was " I got my bell rung ", and it was common to see stars. Nowadays, these are known concussion symptons. And we did this drill a lot. If coaches were not happy with effort, this drill was a go-to method of amping up the intensity.
I remember thinking that maybe these coaches didn’t have our best interests at heart, lol. And a kid didn’t dare say a word about it, the peer pressure against being labeled soft was intense.
It’s not only football. My mentee, Nicole, played girls’ softball from the age of 5 and eventually got a softball scholarship to college. She and her mother came to my house for tea and mentoring every Sunday.
One Sunday, they described how the coach had made Nicole pitch 200 times in sequence. I was enraged. I told Nicole that the coach only cared about his own wins and didn’t care if he ruined her shoulder. I told them to refuse if that kind of thing ever happened again.
I got Nicole into weight lifting. She eventually was able to bench press 200 pounds (far more than I ever did) and became the midwestern women’s collegiate champion for batting home runs.
Nicole earned her Ph.D. in Physical therapy and got married last year.
Big difference between softball pitching motion and baseball. Softball is way more natural and thus more innings/pitches can be tolerated. But like everything else, need to train and build up to it. Not that I follow softball closely, but just don’t hear of pitchers getting Tommy John surgery and rotator cuff surgery like you do in baseball.