Jan 15, 2013 9:36 AM by Marissa Torres
The nation was shocked when successful NFL player Junior Seau committed suicide last May. National Institutes of Health announced last week that he had a degenerative brain disease when he took his own life. But his chronic brain damage has raised questions for many parents about the risks associated with contact sports.
So your child wants to play football... or for that matter... soccer... maybe a future cheerleader. But in light of the Junior Seau news, the threat of head injury has become a serious topic of discussion.
"It does have me concerned about the dangers of some of these sports," says mother, Angela Attinger.
She has active 11,9, and 5 year old children. At this moment, she doesn't think she'd allow her son to play football.
"Unless it was a complete passion of his, like 'I have to play football mom', and then I would try to support him and all that he does, but if its not a passion, we don't have to do it."
"We don't want people to become so scared that we avoid the wonderful benefits of sports and exercise. We want kids to participate," says Dr. Paul Stricker, a pediatric sports medicine specialist.
He adds that it boils down to an awareness of the cumulative effect of head injuries. Players need to do a better job communicating news of their injuries.
"It used to be kids would never tell anyone about it because they want to keep playing, hopefully now, they realize they need to tell somebody."
And by doing so, hopefully prevent another tragedy.
"I think coaches are gonna be more apt to say, hey this kid is not looking right, lets pull him out. Or a child is gonna be more apt to tell their coach or their parent they've had a problem."