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Don't Play Football

Posted by  $  Abaco 3 months, 3 weeks ago to Culture
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I thought I'd pen this advice for any of my fellow Gulchers who may have nephews, kids or grandkids who may be contemplating playing football. This is my TSA for the day. My advice is don't have them play football. I'm 50 now and was realizing while walking into the office this morning (or trying to walk into the office) that there are better things to do that build discipline, friendships and teamwork ability. I had opportunities through football, and it was all my parents really knew. I don't blame them. But, the price I'm paying now is worrisome. I have been in some denial for quite some time and have a very high tolerance for pain. I have avoided getting the blue placard for parking, have only endured one reconstructive surgery. But, my quality of life will continue to be impacted from here on out - that's clear. Tell the kids to learn golf, swimming, track...and emphasize academics.


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  • Posted by Herb7734 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    First of all, sorry to hear of the price you are paying.
    Here's how my football career was nipped in the bud.
    First of all, I am to athletics as a poodle is to a pencil eraser. But for some reason, I had sticky hands. Toss a ball to within 5 or 6 feet of me and I'd usually catch it. As a result I got a couple of touchdown credits by just standing in the end zone. Then, strictly by accident on a screwed up play I got handed the football and fled toward the end zone at my usual 3 mph and as I tried for a lateral I tripped and was run over by at least 3 or 4 guys who were an inch or two behind me. When I got home, I was changing my shirt (I'm also a slob) my mom noticed the cleat marks on my back. It was the end of my football career.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    I was a very undersized (140 lbs, 5'6") tackle in high school, and had to outdo other players who weighed 100 lbs more than I did. The fact that I could compete taught me that I could achieve the seemingly impossible with enough initiative and determination. I got my lumps, but at over 70 I have no more than the usual aches and pains one gets whether or not they played sports.

    There are no "safe" sports. My children's stepfather was a star college soccer player who broke his ankles nine times, dislocated a shoulder, and was knocked unconscious several times. One of my college classmates was seriously injured in a head to head collision with another baseball player. I could cite many other instances for every physical sport (I was nearly hit in the head by an errant shot put in track). The alternative is to try to "bubblewrap" our children, but then they likely wouldn't gain a sense of how to avoid real danger.
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  • Posted by IronMan 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    Mega Dittos ycandrea regarding Boy Scouts. Life is a contact sport, but the BSA is the only organization that really TEACHES leadership to our kids. My oldest is a college junior who learned a lot more from getting his Eagle Scout than playing various sports including lacrosse. He only got 1 concussion playing lacrosse, but some of his teammates had multiples. Today he is on a full Army ROTC scholarship and studying to be an MD. Yes, I was nervous when he went to Seoul for a month this summer on an internship at the Army hospital there. Nothing good happens without risk -- TANSTAAFL!

    My youngest is also tracking to Eagle Scout and the BSA has been a tremendous positive influence on him becoming more goal-directed and self-confident. I don't expect him to get any concussions from learning to pole vault, but he could well break his neck. He and his brother are pretty good downhill skiers, but that's not a risk-free venture either as evidence by my partial rotator cuff tear two years ago.

    Regarding football, I discouraged it with my sons. I learned a lot playing it but my second knee injury provided me with a "graceful" exit after I realized I wasn't big enough or dedicated enough to be a successful college lineman. I too pay the price for nagging injuries today, but don't regret my time playing. Still, there are better ways to learn these lessons than football.
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  • Posted by ycandrea 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    I encouraged Boy Scouts and Taekwondo by the time my 3rd son rolled around. My oldest was in Pop Warner football and after a broken wrist and two broken fingers we pulled him out. I did get one Eagle Scout out of the 3 of them.
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  • Posted by evlwhtguy 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    Echo that! Your body is designed to last about 35 to 40 years, by which time...in primitive days...you would have got stepped on by a mastodon, or broken a foot and missed the annual migration to the warmer climate or got an infected tooth and starved to death. The only reason we live so long now is that these things don't happen much any more. Therefore we are living past the design limitations of our joints etc. You do not help yourself doing things like football, Martial arts [I did and got several injuries] Jogging..[really bad on the knees] Etc. If you want to use any piece of equipment...like your body.... past its normal design tolerance....USE IT IN MODERATION! Eat sparingly, exercise moderately and in a low impact way, don't load it down with a bunch of extra poundage to haul around, don't push smoke through its narrow passages etc, don't put unapproved chemicals and lubricants through it.
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  • Posted by VetteGuy 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    Reminds me of the (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) advice I gave a co-worker after he sustained a concussion playing softball: "You need to take up a nice safe sport like auto racing. Strap on full-face helmet, put on a flame-proof suit, and strap yourself inside a sturdy steel rollcage!" At the time I was running time trials in a formula car. The worst injury I sustained over about 15 years of competition was a scraped ankle while loading the car on the trailer.

    On a more serious note, my kids (both girls) learned how to work with others and were rewarded for their hard work in Band, particularly marching band. (Both worked their way up to first chair in their instruments, and made all-state). Full disclosure ... one did sustain a 'sorta' band-related injury. She sustained a severe ankle sprain playing flag football with the rest of the trumpets in college.

    So, Abaco, although you probably intended your advice for the guys, parents of girls should also pay heed! Thanks for giving us the benefit of your experience.
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  • Posted by Beatlemicah 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    We all get our bodies damaged a little here and there throughout our lives. I did a lot of construction work when I was younger and overworked my back a little. I also tore my ACL skiing. Thankfully I was never compelled to play ball or watch others do it. Except shooting pool of course.
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  • Posted by  $  Flootus5 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    To me, it comes under that heading that with us baby boomers we survived, but were free. But there were consequences. And frankly, some did not survive. But nothing will change that equation.

    Thanks to a backyard tackle football scrimmage game with no protection equipment I endured a neck injury that resulted 50 years later in the need to fuse the neck in the bottom 4 vertebrae. Saved my ass.

    In the 3rd grade at age 9, thanks to falling out of a tree and sustaining a mid-back spinal injury from which I recovered as rubbery youth, later at age 27, I couldn't walk for 3 months. Chiros and Rolfing saved my ass.

    Skiing accidents and jumping off of garage roofs as a teenager did not help.

    But, I was free. I was free to do these things some of which I might not have survived. I wouldn't trade it for any nanny-state controlled safety society ever.
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  • Posted by NealS 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    Football is sort of like smoking. So are things like wrestling, boxing, even today's basketball. Waivers will need to be signed to play, insurance companies will need to be assigned for "accidents" that happen. The choice is ours, either we "play" or we don't. And I'm willing to bet that the Socialist Republic of California will probably be the first to ban and outlaw football. It will be "for the good of the people".
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  • Posted by freedomforall 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    I recall meeting a famous retired member of the Raiders on a flight to LA some years ago. He was so damaged, he could hardly carry on a conversation. He reportedly took lots of steroids to maintain his ability on the field.
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  • Posted by  $  SarahMontalbano 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    As a kid who was never involved in athletics, and always involved in extracurricular science and leadership activities, the only thing in my experience that can't be earned through science activities is physical fitness. I've learned discipline, teamwork, leadership, and useful information to boot, all while building friendships. I highly recommend these kind of activities.
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  • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    Time will tell if my enjoyment of sports will take its toll. At 50 I have nothing but some aches and pains related to the years of hard labor of my youth, and perhaps some neighborhood tackle football and street hockey. I'd find it hard to tell someone not to play sports. I would tell them to be careful, to wear the proper equipment (I certainly didn't) and to plan an educational path not reliant on athletics.
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    • Posted by  $  3 months, 3 weeks ago
      That's understandable. I know that football coaches are addressing the dangers much more these days. When I played, it wasn't addressed at all. We played hurt, routinely got consussed, etc. Now, I wince in pain just doing simple stuff like taking off my socks, or steering a car. I found out, for one example, that I had a broken wrist when I was kid and it was never diagnosed until just recently with an x-ray. Just tape it up and play. On the bad days I'm walking like Fred Sanford. I love that show, so it makes me chuckle a bit...
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      • Posted by  $  kddr22 3 months, 2 weeks ago
        There was a recent study of football players who had donated their brain at death of the 111 examined 110 showed signs of CTE. (chronic traumatic encephalopathy)
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        • Posted by  $  3 months, 2 weeks ago
          Yep. The doctor who spearheaded all that is about 3 miles from where I'm sitting right now. We've been in touch. They made a movie about him...
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    I don't think I can keep my 9 y/o away from it. I certainly could, but he's in love with it. Like Brad Paisley says, football is "his first love until his first love comes along." His parents are total nerds, yet he loves American football. I just can't keep him away. He's in flag football for now. Maybe his interests will change before he gets to tackling.

    I'm sorry to hear you're struggling with it. My aunt had injuries from sports, and eventually they worked or, or at least she does not complain. Maybe the treatment will be more effective than you think.
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