As summer reaches its peak (in Houston, that’s a pretty lofty peak–high temperatures around 100F all week), football looms on the horizon, with training camp getting started for pro, college, and high school football. For a lot of American parents, a question hovers over that same horizon: “should I let my kid play football?”
In my research for Farewell to Football, which included quite a few interviews with parents, I found four main answers to that question:
- No, I would rather my child not play tackle football
- I will let my child play tackle football while s/he’s young and small, but no high school football, based on the theory that very young kids aren’t big enough or fast enough to cause much damage through collisions
- I will only let my child play flag football until s/he’s in high school (age 14-plus), based on the somewhat opposite theory that young bodies aren’t fully-formed and thus more susceptible to serious injuries, especially concussions, and shouldn’t engage in collision sports until their bodies are somewhat mature
- I will let my child play tackle football as soon as s/he wants to, for as long as s/he wants to
What do you think?