Is Football Safe for Kids to Play?
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Is Football Safe for Kids to Play?


– Do you think that with some of the new technology out there again we’re learning so much, but do you see science
maybe getting to a place where we can design these helmets particularly for children where if they are going to play football, we can displace that impact so it does not hurt the brain? – Great question. Really the important question right now, because people are gonna
wanna still play football. – Yes. – And so, what’s important to know is that CT is fundamentally
it’s an inflammation. It’s your brain cells are inflamed and then they eventually degenerate. And so what’s important is to immediately detect
concussions when they do happen so that players can be
removed from the game. But unfortunately it’s been
mostly guess work until now. The FDA just approved an app that actually uses a tablet
device on the sidelines to diagnose any kind
of cognitive impairment and if the performance goes
down from pregame levels, you have some objective evidence now that there might be a concussion at hand. – I do think that finally coaches, leagues are starting to address this issue but I mean it always amazes me if I’m watching a broadcast of a game and there will be a tackle that’s considered to be targeting, helmet to helmet, and the broadcaster will say, “Oh back when I used to play,
that was a great tackle.” And then the other voice will say, “Yeah, but we’re trying to
get that out of the game.” And I think this is a lot
of people coming together because it’s if your kids gonna play teaching them the right tackle technique, not to lead with the head, not to lead with the helmet. It’s gonna take technology, improved helmet technology. It’s going to take, quite
frankly a lot of sports is driven by money too, caring quite frankly more
about people’s brains sometimes than the bottom line. – And I don’t meant to interrupt but it was a fourth
grader, 10 year old boy my son doesn’t wear a
helmet when he plays, and the rationale is that
they’re trying to pull the flags off of each other. – But. – But it’s brutal. I mean I really got very
nervous doing all the research for this back then. – A lot of flag football leagues now actually they do wear some sort of- – Well that’s, I was going to suggest- (talking over each other) – He plays for his school and none of the schools in his
league are wearing helmets, I’ll tell ya.
– Same thing with soccer, I mean there’s a lot of
concussions associated with youth soccer as well. I mean I know it’s not
as sexy playing soccer with a helmet but reality is lets play- – But current technology and again, this is years in the future, is there a way that we
can make progress here beyond just saying,
okay no kids, you know, kids you’re not going to play football? – I have all the faith in technology to develop new ways of preventing this. The problem comes with CTE
doesn’t even show signs until eight to 15 years
after these impacts happen. – [Man] That’s the problem. – How long are we willing to wait to discover what works and what doesn’t. – [Woman] Yeah.
– [Man] That’s a good point. – And the diagnosis is
made at autopsy, correct? – That’s exactly right. Right now there’s no way to diagnose CTE while someone’s still alive, and while neuroscientists
are working on brain imaging to detect that, in some sense it just might not matter because there’s nothing we can do about it and I don’t expect a treatment
for it any time soon, because look our bones heal and our skin cuts come back together and even our liver regenerates, but brain cells do not regenerate. – Well my son is with you, my son Matt the neurosurgeon, he played tackle football
through high school, never had head injuries but he broke his shoulder, and broke his ankle. That’s whole other story but he said, “Dad, my son
will not play football.” And yet he was a believer, he loves football like you and I do but- – Well and you, and will
just throw out there that you can love your
child like you loved Matt and allow them to play football. – I did. – And teach them everything
and that is okay. It is a personal choice and yet I think you always need to make an advised choice with all the information and I think you’ve provided
a lot of that today. I really appreciate the work you’re doing. I can tell how passionate
you are about this. (audience clapping) – And that’s such a valid point, I didn’t have all this information. You know, we’re talking now almost well over 15 years ago. So, a lot of this stuff is relatively new. We’re only learning now more and more about number of concussions and CTE exactly what it is. The fact that playing
football in early age is so important, we didn’t know that then. – I’m glad my sport
growing up was basketball, because when you look at
the concussive sports, you know, you start to look at the ones where there’s a lower concussion rate, and you’re like all right well, you know some of us dodged a bullet because we chose a sport where there’s not a lot of
repetitive head trauma so I think this is something
we all need to take to heart. We’re gonna have information
on CT on our website.

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