Brains are precious
In this life, we only get one brain which does not regenerate. Once it’s injured, through repetitive hits, concussion, or accident, it never returns to normal. Fortunately, with work and therapy, a variety of functions can be picked up by other parts of the brain, however, it is never the same.
Contact Games are Exciting
For all the reasons one would want to play a brain-damaging sport: excitement, physicality, team, spirit, school letter, team jacket, hero status, workouts, camaraderie, fame, cheering crowds, potential fortune, and scholarship, to name a few, there are other sports and activities that offer many of the same rewards without sacrificing a healthy brain.
Exciting Safe Games
Educators and parent boosters need not only concentrate on major athletic programs. In fact, there are a number of strategies for acquiring the same set of skills as a contact sport.
- Hand-eye coordination: golf, ping pong, handball, tennis, bowling, baseball, volleyball, curling
- Speed: Track, cycling, swimming, running, ice skating
- Movement: dance, yoga, karate, gymnastics, aerobics, weights
- Strategic thinking: chess and board games, bridge and card games, functional design, entrepreneurialism (business and marketing)
- Creativity: the arts, sciences, communications
- Relationship skills: Community volunteer
- Scholarships to higher education: outstanding ability in the above as well as attention to schoolwork, support free access to community and state schools.
Competition, cooperation, and relationships
This is by no means a complete list. Competition, cooperation, and relationships are all present in these activities in which, by the way, a predominate number of children and adults participate. All without putting their brains at risk, without repetitive head hits, and without the violent-aggressive behavior required in contact sports.
CTE is stoppable
Too wimpy for you? Just remember the risks. since 1973, CTE has been diagnosed in boxers, wrestlers, military veterans, and baseball, football, ice hockey, rugby, and soccer players. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative condition associated with head trauma. Simply put, it causes damage to brain cells that results in cell death and worsens over time. Early symptoms of CTE fall into two broad categories: (1) behavioral and mood changes such as anxiety, depression, and issues with impulse control, and (2) cognitive impairment including memory loss.
Brains don’t regenerate
Make informed decisions for yourself and/or your children. The healthy brain before contact sports participation is not the same healthy brain after, and it can never go back.
CTE symptoms are unpredictable
No one can predict the extent of the CTE, or when/if it will surface, and if it will be obvious to anyone besides the athlete. At this time, there is no litmus test. It is a life-altering crap-shoot.
Families suffer too
CTE is not just about the athlete. It is also about the athlete’s family — the caretakers and the responsible parties. Everyone is involved in the commitment. It takes a village.
VIP: Informed Decisions
Choose wisely when it comes to deciding on activities. The decision you make, for yourself or your children, is not only about this season but about the rest of your and their life.
Have fun. Be passionate. Above all else, be brain safe
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