It's time that we banned our children from playing football, just as we already protect them from other things we know to be harmful. That's the word from Dr. Bennet Omalu, the first person to identify chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, a disease known to affect football players and others who sustain repetitive blows to the head. "As we become more intellectually sophisticated and advanced, with greater and broader access to information and knowledge, we have given up old practices in the name of safety and progress," he writes in the New York Times. "That is, except when it comes to sports."
We've limited smoking and drinking alcohol; we've curbed asbestos use. And yet, though studies show children who play football can show evidence of brain damage that can become irreversible CTE if allowed to accumulate over the years, parents still allow their kids to play. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society recommended back in 2011 that children be kept from high-impact contact sports, and the research agrees. "The question we have to answer is, when we knowingly and willfully allow a child to play high-impact contact sports, are we endangering that child?" Omalu thinks the answer is yes, and children should be kept from playing football until they become adults. Click for his full column.