Are Black Parents Concerned About Sports Concussions and Head Injuries?
Many parents say they want to wait and be sure their kids are ready to play sports safely.
According to a 2013 report issued by The National Academies, there are approximately 1.6 to 3.8 million sports and recreation-related brain and concussive injuries in the United States each year. For many parents, that’s enough to make you want to rid sports all together.
There has been much debate over whether or not parents should let their children participate in sports like football, wrestling, and those that present heavy safety risks. Traumatic head injuries are often associated with sports that deliver heavy impact. At the Upstate Concussion Center, director Brian Rieger believes minor brain injuries have been a problem in school sports for decades. While helmets provide protection, they’re not perfect. “Part of the problem is that the brain is floating within the skull. So no matter how good the helmet is - once the skull stops, the brain keeps moving,” said Rieger. Even the POTUS himself weighed in on the subject of brain injuries in football, saying that as a parent, he’d have to think long and hard before allowing a son to play.
More parents are steering their kids away from sports like football out of fear that the last hit might just be the one that ends it all. Former basketball star Charles Barkley even expressed his concerns when he said that he expects young African-American athletes to turn away from football to play less brain-risky sports, such as tennis and golf.
While parents are becoming more aware of the severe injuries that can occur from these sports, there are also those who feel that the worry is unnecessary. With two-thirds of NFL players comprised of African-American males, I doubt there’ll be a shortage on the school field anytime soon. However, a strong push for increased awareness is needed.