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small teenage boy wants to play football ... advice and suggestions?


Pen
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(Editing to try to make the spaces I put show--instead of all one paragraph smashed together.)

 

 

My ds who will be in 9th next year wants to play football.

 

 

His school could not get enough kids for a team this past year and so are recruiting heavily now for next year, and if he wants to be on the team he probably can be, but due mainly to the lack of boys interested, not so much due to his own suitableness to football. Otherwise his fall sport would be cross country running, plus he is a figure skater.

 

 

Negatives as I see it:

 

He is 5'6" and weighs 110lbs, at age 15, so well built for a runner or a skater, but tiny for a football player. He is very athletic and fast, but I am afraid that in a collision he will be the one to suffer.

 

He probably cannot combine football and skating, or football and XC (whereas XC and skating do combine, but it is possible that we would need to have him focus on just one--probably XC-- this next year anyway, not due to clear time conflict, but just lack of enough total energy for both for me as sport-mom, even more than for him.

 

 

There are more football away games than XC away meets, which means more time lost from academic classes.

 

 

The football team will probably have a less pro-academic influence than XC does, as XC tends to have the top academic kids, and also is a really nice group of kids to form a basic social peer group.

 

 

Positives:

 

I think he needs some rough and tumble guy stuff   ...   I think part of his teenage boy issues that I started another thread trying to get insight into are that he lacks this 

 

and he also could use a team sport experience.

 

And he has been lacking inner drive and motivation, so him wanting to do something--rather than doing something because I push him to-- seems positive to me.

 

Football players have more social cache than do XC runners.

 

 

Edited by Pen
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Can he kick? I would imagine the flexibility and footwork he has acquired from skating would help him be well suited to be a place kicker. As a bonus, the kickers get hit the least in football, so it's a safer position as far as concussions go (my biggest worry about football). 

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Can he kick? I would imagine the flexibility and footwork he has acquired from skating would help him be well suited to be a place kicker. As a bonus, the kickers get hit the least in football, so it's a safer position as far as concussions go (my biggest worry about football). 

 

Interesting idea!  I don't know, but thank you for suggesting it.

 

He can't be swayed towards soccer? I don't know about the cachet, but I do know 5'6 is OK - height is not so vital - and the tackling is less intense. 

 

There is no soccer team.

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Yes- kicker, punter, long snapper are positions he could try.

 

 

I am ignorant!  This sounds interesting, but what are these?  

 

I take it some of these positions come out for special duties, rather than being part of all scrimmages?

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He is not that small for a 15 year old boy. I am personally terrified by the research I see coming out now about football and brain damage. I would strongly encourage him away from football, but not because I think it would be more dangerous at his size.

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I am ignorant!  This sounds interesting, but what are these?  

 

I take it some of these positions come out for special duties, rather than being part of all scrimmages?

 

 

Yes - they're all part of special teams. 

 

The kicker will kick off the football at the beginning of the game, kick field goals and extra points after touchdowns. 

 

The punter kicks the ball if a team gets to 4th down, typically. They kick it to the other team and try to place it in a certain spot on the field (depending on where the coach wants the ball to land). 

 

The long snapper is the guy that snaps the ball to the placeholder, who then sets the ball in place for the kicker before field goals and extra points. 

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His size is on the small side for 9th grade but not tiny.  If he is a runner, he will likely end at wide receiver or cornerback. 

 

 

wide receiver would fit in terms of running ability and jumping ability from skating as well as spring track and field  ...  assuming he could catch the ball and deal with being hit by opposing players...

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He is not that small for a 15 year old boy. I am personally terrified by the research I see coming out now about football and brain damage. I would strongly encourage him away from football, but not because I think it would be more dangerous at his size.

 

 

How would you go about encouraging him away from football?

 

 

I can simply refuse to sign permission for him to play, but that is likely to lead to great animosity. 

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I would not let a kid play football (unless it was flag or touch football), no matter what the size; too many serious injuries.  My DS is tall and big and strong as an ox - he'd be grabbed up in an instant by a football team, but I didn't sign for him to play.  He was very disappointed, but I explained my reasons and offered up any other sport he wanted, so he swims and plays soccer now.  He still really wants to play, but the injuries my father and nephew had from playing were too close to home to let that happen to my son.

Edited by reefgazer
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... I am personally terrified by the research I see coming out now about football and brain damage. I would strongly encourage him away from football, but not because I think it would be more dangerous at his size.

 

I would not let a kid play football (unless it was flag or touch football), no matter what the size; too many serious injuries...

 

How would you go about encouraging him away from football?

 

Perhaps together you can do some research on some of the potential negatives before coming to a decision:

 

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) -- brief explanation from Brain Injury Research Institute

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy -- brief explanation from Brain Injury Research Institute

Concussions 101 -- statistics on concussion rates of high school athletes

Healthline article and Youth Sports Injuries Statistics  -- short articles which note the statistics that football players are the most likely to be injured of any of the high school sports

"Brain Injury Deaths in High School Players Rising" -- January 2017 article

 

Concussion (2015) -- feature film starring Will Smith about Dr. Bennet Omalu who discovered the link between brain damage in football players and repeated concussions

 

If nothing else, setting aside the risk of concussion, just realizing that more than 1 in 4 students playing football end up with an injury -- some of which can have life-long impact on your ability to do physical activities pain-free, such as bone breaks and injuries to knees and tendons -- would give me pause to consider whether it was worth the risk.

 

Of my high school co-op class students, I've only known one to play football; his arm was broken in practice scrimmages right before the first game, and he missed getting to play the entire the season while his arm healed.

 

Here's a US News article on the "Pros and Cons of Playing High School Football"...

Edited by Lori D.
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He is not small for a 15-yr-old, but he is small for a 15-yr-old football player. 

 

The biggest concern is which teams they will play against. Our homeschool varsity team would sometimes play the JV teams at small private schools, sometimes all 8th-graders, and the players were huge in comparison. It was so worrisome to watch, and it wasn't even my kids playing. 

 

As far as your son playing a 'safer' position, is that even an option with such a small team? Or will the kicker also be doing something else? Maybe that's not possible, I know nothing about football, but the kicker sits around a lot, it would make sense to also have him in another position if you could. It may not usually be done, but can it be done? If you let him try out, and the coach assigns him a more dangerous position, are you really going to pull the plug at that point in time? If not, assume he will play any and all positions. 

 

How well trained are the coaches at a school that couldn't even field a team last year? That is a tremendous safety concern. 

 

 

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My cousin, who has always been really into sports, deeply regrets playing high school football. He suffered several concussions his senior year. He's now preparing for med school and finding the needed concentration difficult, when it wasn't before.

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I would recommend place kicker as well. However, if his school is so small they can barely put together a team, he won't be allowed to play just on special teams. They'll likely want him in an offensive position too like running back because he's probably pretty agile. That carries a lot of danger of being hit.

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We went through this. My ds was bigger than yours but not much and no experience whatsoever playing football. I had reservations but I allowed it. We had just moved to a new town and he knew no one but a little private school allowed homeschoolers to play. He called the school and the coach and got himself all set up to play. I admired the initiative and his desire and confidence to try something completely new so I decided to support in spite of my reservations. I was nervous just about every aspect of it but decided in this instance I needed to absorb the risk and support him trying to get out there and make his way as an independent young man. (mine was actually in 10th grade and 15 yo).

 

The team was very small but he really just played special teams except for a couple games. I will say it was pretty scary to watch. I am sure if the kids grew up playing the parents are used to it but it is pretty scary if you aren't used to it. I pretty much watched the games and was relieved everytime he ran off the field. He enjoyed his experience but I was very glad when the season was over. It was a mixed bag in other ways. I did like that games were only on Friday nights.

 

Who are the other teams your team plays? If they are very small schools there is a chance that the opponents will not be as big, fast, athletic as you see at the big football schools. In most of our games the kids were really not hitting very hard.

 

Ds went back out to play the next year but the team folded because they did not have enough kids. He was disappointed but it was for the best, I think.

 

Overall, I was not crazy about ds playing football but I did see it filled a need for him and allowed him to grow personally. Parenting teen boys is hard. I find myself walking a line between protecting them and letting them spread their wings and become the men they are trying to be. In my case, I think allowing him to play was the right move. There is risk in so many things. I am not a fan of football but stepping in and prohibiting it didn't feel right for my ds and our relationship going forward.

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To put it in perspective about the range of sizes with 15 year old boys...my son was almost 6" by 15 and 150 lbs.  He had a friend who actually played football who was over 6" tall and around 170lbs. I've met plenty of teen boys that are your son's size but I've also met many who are very large man sized.  My 12 year old is 5'6" and close to 110 lbs.  There's no way I would put him on the field with my 16 year old (who is 6'2" and 170 lbs now) and expect them to compete on equal levels in football.  Other sports, no problem.  The chance of a head injury is very possible.  

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My daughter was a cheerleader, so I have spent many, many hours watching football games.  I would greatly discourage him from football. Read the links already provided that discuss concussions. Every one of DD18's football friends has a permanent injury and/or pain from football injuries. Just the kids I can think of off the top of my head....Torn ACL, 2 had knee surgery, broken wrist, broken colar bone, severely sprained ankle (can be worse than a break) and a multitude of concussions.  DDs school has 3  separate teams (varsity, JV, 9thgrade), so they aren't forced to play up.  

 

 

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How would you go about encouraging him away from football?

 

 

I can simply refuse to sign permission for him to play, but that is likely to lead to great animosity.

 

Personally, I would risk the "great animosity" and just say no to football.

 

You can also show him the links Lori provided if you want to justify your position, but unless you can be guaranteed that your ds will be in a position that won't involve being tackled -- and I doubt that's possible on such a small team -- I would consider this to be a "Mom knows best" situation and not allow him to make this decision for himself.

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I would not allow a child of any size to play a "game" with such high injury rates. As a form of entertainment, watching strong young men injure each other has a long history in many cultures. I'm not going to play along with that.

 

Trading long term health for short term fun is foolish. I'm not afraid to tell a teenager so, and I'm not adverse to using my parental power to prevent such foolishness.

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I am a poster above that let my ds play. I will say that he should not go into thinking there is any possibility of playing a position where he will not get hit. Even place kickers get hit and they are often defenseless when that happens. Sure it can incur a penalty on the other team but 15 yards is hardly a consolation if your kid is injured.

 

You are reasonable to say "no". I don't regret letting mine play but had he been injured I would say otherwise I am sure.

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I'd let him play, with a few conditions. Warn him if he gets 2 concussions he's done.  Weight training and conditioning help protect against injury, so I'd see what kind of program your son's school has.  Also check into their helmets.  How new are they?  Are they bottom of the line or top of the line?  If you're uncomfortable with the training program or the helmets, I wouldn't let him play.

Has he had his growth spurt yet?  My ds16 played in 10th last year and when he started he was about 120.  He's now 150.

My son plays for a small team.  Many of the players play offense and defense.  According to our neurologist, the safest position is cornerback, who is the guy that covers the wide receivers.   

I know it's controversial, but we're happy with our decision.
 

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Think of the physical principals working in the sport of football. An object with the mass of 110 lbs is colliding with one or more objects of perhaps 110 up to 200+ lbs. The lighter mass is always going to get more damaged with each impact. The damage in increased with the differences in mass and the speed of the collision. So if your son runs into a massive object he's going to get just as hurt as if the massive object runs into him.

 

When his time of being beat up is finished in the football season, will he be physically able to participate in his other 2 sports or even school? 

 

His desire to participate in a "rough and tumble" team activity can be fulfilled in a different sport where there are fewer and/or more controlled collisions, little speed, and divided weight categories. Martial arts and wrestling come to mind. 

Edited by wintermom
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Thank you to everyone who has given thoughts and ideas on this.

 

UPDATE: The latest on this is that ds signed himself up for a football camp this next week -- bike distance so he could do it all by himself unless I actively ground him. My permission was not requested.

 

On the forms for sports I filled out this past fall, I had put down my okay for any sport but football. Either they did not look at that, or this camp must be separate from that. The camp is for 5th grade to 12th grade and while I expect it to be all or mostly boys, it is open to girls as well. This makes me think maybe it will be focussed on skills, not so much on clobbering each other. And at least as compared to 5th graders he is not small. I am not sure whether to let him go since he seemed to be able to do this without any okay from me. Or to say, "no" to this.

 

I think I am leaning toward not stepping in and vetoing the camp idea which he seems to have been able to do on his own, but saying no to playing on team next year.

 

 

At the moment I am planning to start by getting the Concussion film for us to watch. And hope that ds himself decides no. He did decide no himself on ice hockey--with a little bit of pressure from his dad to go toward either speed or figure skating, but not ice hockey, but dad is no longer able to do that.

 

Aside from the general issue of football being a "no" for some regardless of size of player, my ds is really small, if not for in the world as a whole, certainly for our part of the country. He is the smallest boy in our high school, and other schools will have teams with even bigger boys, by a big margin. My ds is fast and agile, but he is the opposite of having a football player type build.

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Good luck Pen! That's such a tricky spot to be in, and it sounds like you are doing a good job of walking a fine balance.

 

I know you're in a small town/rural setting, so this might not be an option at all, BUT, your son sounds like a natural for Ultimate Frisbee. It's rapidly moving from just being a collegiate intramural sport to a national and international highly popular sport. You might check out the weekly highlights and other info at  Major League Ultimate to see just what a great sport this is -- moving a disc down field to score, much like football, but no tackling, and incredible athleticism. And the best part is that this sport strongly encourages integrity and good sportsmanship through self-refereeing! :)

 

Just putting in an unsolicited plug for a sport that DS#1 and DH have really enjoyed, and where size doesn't matter so much. ;) (Taller is helpful for interceptions or jumping for the disc, but there are great players of all sizes.)

Edited by Lori D.
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Personally, I would risk the "great animosity" and just say no to football.

 

 

It's not a reason to say yes, that's for sure. Because it's a lucky parent who doesn't have multiple occasions of animosity with their teen, lol. 

 

I'd let him play, with a few conditions. Warn him if he gets 2 concussions he's done.  

 

I would personally not go this route, for fear of him hiding symptoms. 

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It's not a reason to say yes, that's for sure. Because it's a lucky parent who doesn't have multiple occasions of animosity with their teen, lol.

 

 

I would personally not go this route, for fear of him hiding symptoms.

I know that at the school my son plays for, there is a major concussion protocol. There is no hiding symptoms. I assume (which could be wrong) that all high schools have something similar.

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I'd let him play, with a few conditions. Warn him if he gets 2 concussions he's done.

 

Personally, I consider 2 concussions to be 2 concussions too many.

 

I believe in avoiding head injuries whenever possible, rather than setting a limit on how many are acceptable, because I don't think there is necessarily a safe number of head injuries one person can sustain.

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I know that at the school my son plays for, there is a major concussion protocol. There is no hiding symptoms. I assume (which could be wrong) that all high schools have something similar.

Yep, but the players don't always tell the coach when there is a problem.  Most of the football players I have talked to about it, say that they think they have had several concussions but didn't realize it till later, after the practice or game.  Not major ones, but ones that are enough to give them a headache for a few days and some concentration issues.  One kid I talked to about it, said that the times he thinks he go a concussion, he didn't have the cognitive abilty to realize something was wrong.  The kids play through heat, stress, discomfort and simple trauma all the time.  They are used to not feeling well on the field.  It is hard for the kids to stop and self assess that this blow/ head direction change was harder/different than normal.

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Can he kick a football well?  I would concentrate on that.  

 

I don't know. He's never tried to my knowledge. He can kick a soccer ball reasonably well, though probably others who would be available can do so better. Skill has a place in kicking, but so does mass and muscle, at least with soccer and I assume also with football. He has speed. He has agility. He has enough muscle to lift himself for ice skating jumps, but he is not a big powerful guy as compared to the boys who tend to play football, or even basketball and baseball (around here).

 

Good luck Pen! That's such a tricky spot to be in, and it sounds like you are doing a good job of walking a fine balance.

 

I know you're in a small town/rural setting, so this might not be an option at all, BUT, your son sounds like a natural for Ultimate Frisbee. It's rapidly moving from just being a collegiate intramural sport to a national and international highly popular sport. You might check out the weekly highlights and other info at  Major League Ultimate to see just what a great sport this is -- moving a disc down field to score, much like football, but no tackling, and incredible athleticism. And the best part is that this sport strongly encourages integrity and good sportsmanship through self-refereeing! :)

 

Just putting in an unsolicited plug for a sport that DS#1 and DH have really enjoyed, and where size doesn't matter so much. ;) (Taller is helpful for interceptions or jumping for the disc, but there are great players of all sizes.)

 

I wish they had ultimate frisbee here!  Maybe I could suggest it, and it could get started.  

 

Meanwhile, I put the Concussion movie at the top of our Netflix queue and brought up the links you gave in a previous post. Thank you.

 

Think of the physical principals working in the sport of football. An object with the mass of 110 lbs is colliding with one or more objects of perhaps 110 up to 200+ lbs. The lighter mass is always going to get more damaged with each impact. The damage in increased with the differences in mass and the speed of the collision. So if your son runs into a massive object he's going to get just as hurt as if the massive object runs into him.

 

When his time of being beat up is finished in the football season, will he be physically able to participate in his other 2 sports or even school

 

His desire to participate in a "rough and tumble" team activity can be fulfilled in a different sport where there are fewer and/or more controlled collisions, little speed, and divided weight categories. Martial arts and wrestling come to mind. 

 

The physics principals are what have me worried, even beyond the usual issues with football.  The bold part might be an argument that would make sense to him.  There are a few men in their late 60s still enjoying figure skating at our rink, and even a 90 year old guy who can still do shoot the duck sit spins. It is a good long term sport, and one likely to be lost if he got injured. It of course also has its share of serious injuries and concussions, but at least tackling is not an actual goal of it.  And if he does not get hurt he is a good enough runner to possibly (likely they think) make All State by senior year.  His build which, imo, is bad for football is excellent for singles skating and running.  

 

Hmmm.  A thought. A few times ds has himself commented on some other boy as not having the right build for running (as in saying so and so might be able to be a good discus thrower, but not likely a good runner for reasons of build alone). I wonder if he could be able to see that in himself as regards football.

 

Wrestling is available locally in winter. Maybe that would work.  There is also basketball which again he is very small for, but might give some team play experience and some banging about, but not as likely to have long term debilitating effects.  I can more see him running about swiftly and stealing the ball from bigger guys successfully in basketball.

 

 

 

I ordered the top one and will get the other at library. Thanks!

 

Personally, I consider 2 concussions to be 2 concussions too many.

 

I believe in avoiding head injuries whenever possible, rather than setting a limit on how many are acceptable, because I don't think there is necessarily a safe number of head injuries one person can sustain.

 

I agree. And spine injures also concern me greatly.

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I'm thinking of some NFL kickers who are lightweight compared to most NFL players.

 

Sent from my SM-G355M using Tapatalk

 

In the NFL, kickers are only kickers. This may not hold true at a school that could not even field a team last year. And he may not get selected as a kicker. 

 

There is apparently no rule in high school football leagues (in the US) that forbids a substantial weight difference among players. I have seen, with my own horrified eyes, some pretty tiny boys getting slammed by much bigger players. And the players aren't being obnoxious or showing off, it's just physics in action. 

 

Picture one of those lightweight NFL kickers out on the field with the refrigerator-sized players . . . 

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I don't think you can generally show up to high school football with an attitude of "I'm just here to kick." I guess if he was really exceptional and better than anyone else they had it is a possibility but he is unlikely to be able to quickly develop that type of proficiency. Like in most sports you don't get to request a position. You play where the coach wants you to play.

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DH is 6'5" and built big like a football player. He was an excellent player in high school and was recruited for college play. When he was on defense, his job was to tackle, and he would not go more lightly on the smaller guys, because it was his job to stop anyone and hit hard.

 

He loved football and also played in college for a year or two. He does not want our boys to play football, because they are small guys (adopted, so they don't have his genes). Also, one is prone to complaining greatly about small (maybe imaginary?) injuries, so he couldn't hack the physical impact, even if concussion were not a concern. That son has expressed interest in football, but we never let him play PeeWee. He did play flag football for a few seasons.

 

So even a guy who loved football so much while growing up that he wanted to go pro is not a fan of it for his kids. I asked him just now, Pen, and he said he wouldn't want your guy to play.

 

I do get that there is a line, and that sometimes choosing not to antagonize our kids plays a part. I hope that after his summer football camp experience, he decides of his own accord to stick with XC for the fall. Perhaps he will not like it as much as he thinks. DS decided on his own to stop playing flag football.

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I don't think you can generally show up to high school football with an attitude of "I'm just here to kick." I guess if he was really exceptional and better than anyone else they had it is a possibility but he is unlikely to be able to quickly develop that type of proficiency. Like in most sports you don't get to request a position. You play where the coach wants you to play.

 

 

I agree.  And my guess is that he will not be the/a top kicker in any case.  And, as others said, that it being a small school and small team there are unlikely to be dedicated kickers. Probably not dedicated offense and defense either.  

 

 

Ds was the top track and field boy for all events for middle school level at his school.  He was placed in events where he could be number 1 or 2 against other schools though, since in some cases they told him that being the best, say javelin thrower, at his school would only get him a 20th or so as against kids from other schools.  And even if he wanted to compete in something else, they still put him where they thought he'd do the best for the team's overall standing, not necessarily what event he most wanted to do.  I expect that would be the same for other sports. You could probably ask to try something at least in practice time, but mainly you would do what the coach says.

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DH is 6'5" and built big like a football player. He was an excellent player in high school and was recruited for college play. When he was on defense, his job was to tackle, and he would not go more lightly on the smaller guys, because it was his job to stop anyone and hit hard.

 

He loved football and also played in college for a year or two. He does not want our boys to play football, because they are small guys (adopted, so they don't have his genes). Also, one is prone to complaining greatly about small (maybe imaginary?) injuries, so he couldn't hack the physical impact, even if concussion were not a concern. That son has expressed interest in football, but we never let him play PeeWee. He did play flag football for a few seasons.

 

So even a guy who loved football so much while growing up that he wanted to go pro is not a fan of it for his kids. I asked him just now, Pen, and he said he wouldn't want your guy to play.

 

I do get that there is a line, and that sometimes choosing not to antagonize our kids plays a part. I hope that after his summer football camp experience, he decides of his own accord to stick with XC for the fall. Perhaps he will not like it as much as he thinks. DS decided on his own to stop playing flag football.

 

 

Thank you and thanks to your DH too.  I am considering sharing this post with my son.

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Wrestling is available locally in winter. Maybe that would work.  

 

As a wrestling family, and I have to put a vote in for this sport. Small kids are at an advantage, it's team and individual, and meets the rough & tumble qualifications.  My rising 8th grader one of the smallest boys in his class at 5'1" and 104lbs. He does very well in wrestling and baseball. Last year as a 7th grader he was pushing 100lbs and too small for varsity wrestling, so he was on the JV team. 

 

My little guy plays football as an offensive wingback which is a position for a small, quick player who runs the ball.  He also plays middle linebacker on defense. Neither position has him frequently making tackles or being tackled - maybe only a couple plays out of every 10.  The guys on the line are the ones constantly tackling, but my guy is far too small for those positions.  IME, summer camps are skills camps, and won't involve tackling or pads.

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Did you ever play red rover red rover on the playground? It was a favourite with several of my elementary school teachers. As the smallest in the class, I dreaded it. They always aimed at me because I was the easiest place to break through.

 

I would tell my son's skating and running coaches and let them talk him out of it. This cannot be something they want your son doing. Coaches, in my experience, are always against other activities that might lead to injuries that would interfere with their own sport. This doesn't sound like helpful cross training for skating and running to me.

 

Nan

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Did you ever play red rover red rover on the playground? It was a favourite with several of my elementary school teachers. As the smallest in the class, I dreaded it. They always aimed at me because I was the easiest place to break through.

 

I would tell my son's skating and running coaches and let them talk him out of it. This cannot be something they want your son doing. Coaches, in my experience, are always against other activities that might lead to injuries that would interfere with their own sport. This doesn't sound like helpful cross training for skating and running to me.

 

Nan

 

 

Was considering that.  Thought it might not be appropriate, but maybe it is.  Not sure if I am going to do that if it should be now, probably since after this next week there wouldn't be any contact between ds and his other coaches till August.  Or if it should wait for ds to maybe decide no on his own.

 

Another possible might be a couple of older track and XC boys who apparently are not swayed to go over to football.  The XC kids run together for fun and fitness through the summer.  And maybe a reminder of the XC team camaraderie will be a big deal that he won't want to give up.  

 

Also NCAA track and field right now might be a help to keep running in focus. We are in rural area in Oregon, and NCAA track and field finals are at University of Oregon. 

Edited by Pen
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Tough call. I played football for 10 years on championship teams. I had such passion for the game that would have undergone an unacceptable level of suffering had I been denied an opportunity to play. In later years I thanked both my parents for helping make football happen. I need it. It was good for me. Maybe even necessary. Rugby was also fun.

 

As a parent? Mixed feelings. If my boy begged me to play, it would be difficult to say no. As it is, I've steered him into Lacrosse as a way to meet the needs of my rough and tumble (but athletically lean) boy. And we've just started water polo, to fill the same niche in High School (a year after next).

 

My kid has a cross-country type body, great runners in the gene-pool, and running talents himself, but without a "team sport" element "the loneliness of the long distance runner" (even if they run in packs) wouldn't provide the right type of fun. I know this.

 

In our area, football has degenerated as most good families have pulled their kids out of the game due to concerns about head injuries. So on top of any concerns of my own, the "culture" here doesn't please me. If we were somewhere where there was the sort of culture that prevailed when I played, I might be more open.

 

As of now, I've steered my son toward other sports. While cherishing my own time in the game more than I can adequately express in words.

 

To specifics. A smaller, but fast, kid is likely to play wide receiver or cornerback (on defense). While it isn't impossible to take a big hit at these positions, there is less likelihood of repetitive sub-concussive hits of the sort linemen take all day long.

 

Snapping the ball for punts and field goals is a terrible position for a small guy. I did this some seasons (big guy) and one takes the worst poundings of any position on the field as far as I'm concerned.

 

My best advice if a kid is going to play, is that you get ahold of a full uniform (including a helmet) *before* playing and the boys gets used to running, rolling, falling, and popping up in advance of being on a team. There is a period of adjustment where one needs to get used to the gear (especially the helmet) and it is kids who are like "bauble-heads" that are IMO at the most risk of getting creamed.

 

Bill (one conflicted dude)

 

 

 

 

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Honestly tackle football should just be outlawed from high school athletics. The adults in the community (nationwide) need to pull a "when you know better you do better" coup.

 

Shame on us for continuing to allow and encourage this kind of damage to young brains.

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I just learned/realized that ds has never seen football played.  We have never been to a game. Since the school did not have a team he has not even seen practice happening. We don't have TV. This is really about a new coach recruiting and making it sound like fun, and some of ds's friends signing up, so he wants to. And maybe also teenage rebellion since it was the one sport I had put on his paperwork he was not allowed to play.  But he has very little realistic concept what it is all about.

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