Risk of injury leads a third of parents to nix football
Updated: Saturday, October 26 2013, 11:52 AM EDT
Rochester, N.Y. - A new Marist poll found that one-third of parents are less likely let their kids play football because of the the link between concussions suffered on the field and long-term brain injuries.
“It can be a difficult decision,” Jennifer Cooper said, whose 15-year-old son is a full back on Canandaigua’s varsity team.
“I definitely have concerns and it's really hard to be someone who is so competitive and be a mother at the same time.”
Cooper is not just a fan of the game, she’s a former player. Cooper played professional women’s football for three years — but quit after suffering a concussion.
“The one I did have was pretty severe, my short term memory was kind of messed up,” Cooper said, “But I didn't allow myself to go back and have it over and over again.”
Tracking football cranial impact exposure, Dr. Anthony Petraglia said there are 600 head impacts in high school football each year, at the college level that number jumps to 1,200.
A former football player and neurosurgeon at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Petraglia said, “I think it's dangerous, I don't think any of us were designed as humans to hit our heads that many times.”
NFL superstar 44-year-old Brett Farve announced this week he suffers from memory loss — something he attributes to the hundreds of hits he took on the field as quarterback.
“He’s been playing since, probably like, when I played, from second grade on,” Petraglia said. “All these years of accruing head impacts, even if they’re sub-concussive, probably are relevant.”
Petraglia said studies show even without any concussions, repetitive head impact can have long-term effects on a person’s brain.
“I don’t think the studies have been around long enough for us to know if that’s true or not,” Eastridge mom Kim Lasher said. “As a parent you’re concerned with injuries, safety, concussions”
Lasher’s son, a sophomore on the varsity team, started playing football at the age of six.
“As a mom that makes you a little nervous, but I mean they could get hit running track too,” Lasher said.
Petraglia said concussions can be difficult to diagnose, exams heavily rely on information from the patient and many players don’t want risk being benched for an injury.
“The only way to really figure things out," Cooper added, "is to get your doctor involved and once you do that they always want to be really careful.”
Along with the teams’ coaches and trainers, parents said they keep a close on eye on their children to make sure that if a player is hurt, they take the necessary precautions.
“I mean he could get a concussion playing on the playground,” Cooper said. “As a parent you have to be careful no matter what they’re doing.”
Rachel Glaser, 13WHAM News