Mike Ditka wouldn't want his kid playing football and neither do I

Mike Ditka wouldn't want his kid playing football and neither do I

I don’t want my kid playing football.

There I said it.

I know he’s only two. But in a matter of time he will be old enough to play sports in our park district and I don’t want him playing football.

Former Chicago Bear head coach and NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka recently taped an episode of “Real Sports with Brian Gumbel” where he asked Brian Gumbel if he would want his child to play football. After Gumbel said he would not, Gumbel returned the question to Mike Ditka who said he would not want his children playing football today. According to Mike Ditka, “the risk is not worth the reward”.

And I agree.

Am I being an overprotective mom?


Actually, yes.

But I can be.

Look, I spent 9 months keeping his noggin safe. I pushed his head out of a hole it didn’t fit through and still managed to keep his brain intact. I’m certainly not going to willingly sign him up for a contact sport that is notorious for brain injuries.

My fiancé doesn’t agree. He believes that our son should be able to choose whatever sport he wants to play and we should honor his request.

Ok, maybe.

But will I be searching through the park district sports directory to find out when we can sign up without him even knowing what the hell football is?

Hell no.

There are plenty of other team sports we can introduce him to.

When you find out you are having a boy one of the first things dads think about is sports. It’s in their genetic make up to want their son to play sports. Especially if they come from a “sports” family or are enthusiasts of a particular sport.

What sport will my son grow up to play? Will he play hockey? Basketball? Baseball? Soccer? Football?

When you become a mom of a boy all you can think of are broken bones and concussions.

According to US News and World Report “Between 2001 and 2009, the most recent years of CDC data, football sent about 25,376 kids under age 19 to the emergency room for traumatic brain injury each year, which was second only to bicycling.”

I know plenty of parents that allow their kids to play football. Many are incredible players. Some are on their way to scholarships. But how many will really end up in the NFL?

Like Mike Ditka said, is the risk worth the reward?

I don’t think so.

I do believe that organized sports are important in the development and growth of our children. They teach teamwork and responsibility. They help lower the childhood obesity rate by keeping children active. Most children do better in school when involved in sports. Most children stay out of trouble and off the streets.

I love football. It is my favorite spectator sport. But no matter how much I love it, I love him more.

What are your feelings on letting children play football?



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Filed under: TJ's Blogs

Tags: children, parenting, Sports

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