Joseph C. Maroon and Julian E. Bailes Jr. are neurosurgeons Weighing the childhood risks of contact sports who think that “Staying on the sidelines carries far more health danger than getting into the game.”
“Fear has created a market for concussion information and products, and the media is overreacting to sensational but unsubstantiated pronouncements and factoids. The anti-football hype is so prevalent that even Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, George Will, asserted, “For all players who play five or more years, life expectancy is less than 60; for linemen it is much less,” without as much as a footnote. It’s a shocking statistic but it’s not an accurate one. Research shows that retired NFL players are living as least as long as their peers and have lower rates of cancer and heart disease.”
“Organized sports are a bulwark against the very real health risks associated with childhood obesity such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiac disease. These benefits are critical to the health and development of our youth and they serve to show the need for a more balanced approach to how we address the safety of our kids playing contact sports. Unfortunately, participation in youth football nationally and high school football in many regions of the country have substantially fallen in recent years.”
Couple health and children and you have a ripe field for spreading Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt to feed a “we must do something, anything” movement. Consequences and implications and even reality go to the back of the bus. The costs can be horrific.