Unnecessary Roughness? Tackling the tackle debate

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

If you’ve been following football within the past few years (or if you’re a huge Will Smith fan), you may have heard the medical term “C.T.E” thrown around a few times. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a degenerative brain disorder (caused by repetitive head trauma) that, in short, fucks your brain up….

CTE is definitely a serious matter at hand. The disease has arguably caused athletes Junior Seau, Aaron Hernandez and many others to take their own lives. CTE is so controversial, that many critics of football have sparked the Idea of completely eliminating the sport.

Last week The Illinois House mental health committee passed a bill that may be the catalyst of this movement. HR 4341, also known as the Dave Duerson Act after the former Chicago Bear who was found to have the disease after killing himself in 2011, is slated to prevent children under the age of 12 from participating in organized tackle football…

…Yeah, these niggas tripping….

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

I understand that the big issue at hand is head trauma, but preventing kids from playing the sport until they become bigger, faster, stronger 12 year olds does NOT solve the problem! What kind of sense does that make? If you think unexperienced 7 year olds can seriously hurt each other, imagine a 150 pound unexperienced 12 year old running full speed delivering kamikaze E. Honda head-butts to opponents.

In the Pop Warner football years, you learn how to tackle THE RIGHT WAY!  Ask ANYONE who’s played organized football, they’ll tell you that the most fundamental football players are those who began at an early age. Learning how to play at an early age eliminates the risk of injury. As you grow into the sport, you learn how to control your body and execute proper form opposed to making paraplegic mishaps.

I COMPLETELY understand how Football can destroy your body. I played football from the age of 10, until I was 22 years old. My knees do not exist anymore. I can’t climb a flight of stairs without using profanity to express the aches. I’ve also had two diagnosed concussions while playing  in college. I probably had one or two in high school as well, but during that time period there was no such thing as a concussion, unless you were knocked the fuck out…Hell, I didn’t even learn the word “concussion” until college. I thought the diagnosis was “knocked the fuck out” ….So there’s a possibility that I may have CTE….

But do I regret playing football? HELL NO!

When played the right way, football is an AMAZING sport for kids to play. Instead of eliminating the sport, let’s emphasize on the execution of the proper fundamentals. Teaching kids how to safely tackle seems more productive than telling them not to tackle until they’re 12 years old.

How about we “tackle” the real health threats to children.