Tackle football participation needs rethought

It is long past time for parents to seriously reconsider allowing their children to participate in tackle football games, especially those kids who are age 12 and under.

We’ve known for some time that getting hit in the head, even if those hits don’t cause concussions, could cause long-term effects but now, with a new report from Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center, it is absolutely time for our local teams – the Amherst Patriots and the Milford Mustangs – to switch to something like flag football for young kids, and maybe even those in the early teenage years.

The report was covered well by Bob Hohler in the Boston Globe and here are some of the salient facts that parents should read and heed:

• The study “leads to growing research suggesting that incurring repeated head impacts thorough tackle football before the age of 12 can lead to a greater risk for short- and long-term neurological consequences.” Those include behavioral and mood impairments including depression and apathy.

• The younger the players are when they begin playing tackle football, the greater risk they faced of developing problems in later life, Hohler reported.

There’s much more, of course, and it’s important for parents to read about it and consider it. Yes, certainly your son will complain if, at age 8, he’s told he can’t play tackle football. Just tell him this: According to Hohler …

“Patriots quarterback Tom Brady … was not permitted to play tackle football until high school.”

It didn’t seem to harm his progress.