Let Your Kids Play Football, Damnit

I'm fed up with scared parents not letting their kids play football.


I've heard so much bullshit about concussions and CTE. I hear people, including my friends without kids, say all the time, "I'm never letting my kids play football". When they ask me, I get defensive and my answer is, and always will be, unequivocally YES.

Let's put your fears in perspective - you're scared of your kid being so good at a sport that he A) gets a scholarship to a university, B) goes to the NFL, and C) makes (potentially) millions of dollars. Then, after making a few million dollars playing a game he loves, there's an ~40% chance of demonstrating symptoms of CTE. So do you fear that your kid is really that good? Take a look below from the NCAA which tells us there's < 0.2% chance of a high school athlete making it to the NFL.

I know what you're saying, "No, Dain. Your argument is stupid. I'm fearful for the health of my child. Brain injuries are no joke!"

My argument is simply this: your fear is misplaced. Your kid isn't going to get CTE or dramatic brain injury playing football at any level less than high-level D1 football.

Instead, why don't you fear that your kid never learns how to work hard? Never learns how to work well with others? Never learns to struggle through adversity? Never learns how to finish something they started? Never learns to aspire to something greater than themselves? Never learns to lead others?

Why isn't your fear that you'll protect your kids so much, that you will fail as a parent to give them the necessary tools to make educated decisions for themselves? Why would you rob them of an opportunity for personal and interpersonal growth to satiate your own fears?

Now, my thoughts on the NFL:

If my (future) son was ever privileged enough to earn a scholarship and to play college football with an NFL future, you better believe I would try to steer him away from playing, citing all the information we now know. But then again, it's my hope that I would have taught him enough so that he could make an educated decision for himself. I will never rob my children of the opportunity to play a sport that I loved and from which I took away so much.

The game gives so much more to young men than it takes.

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