I remember it like it was yesterday, the New Jersey Devils versus the Philadelphia Flyers, Eric Lindros is skating up the ice with his head down, cuts across the middle and Boom! He literally crumbles to the ground out cold. No one thought about the consequences of the hit, the injuries incurred. Was Eric Lindros hurt badly, or would he be ready to go the next game?

Growing up in Canada, I was a hockey lover, watching every game that I could. Being one of 4 boys, as children we were physical with every sport that we played and we loved every minute of it. Playing sports all of my life I took many hard hits to the head and was sent right back out to play the next shift.

Was I okay?

With all the media attention  and recent news on concussions in sports and the safety of players it makes me wonder how much damage my brain incurred over the years.

A concussion can be very harmful to any human being, with short term symptoms such as headaches, and even long term injuries such as post-concussion syndrome. Everyone is at risk of receiving a concussion as they are mostly suffered from being hit in the head which means contact sports pose an obvious high threat of receiving a concussion. The constant, repeated hits to the head from hockey, football or boxing for example, can easily cause concussion in humans.

It is estimated that millions of concussions occur each year, what could these concussions do to children?

Children are at a greater risk when they receive a concussion. Concussions can cause children to not be able to stay focused, incur memory loss, loss of physical abilities, have constant headaches, and more. These effects can be short term and long term depending on the severity and treatment of a concussion. With these symptoms their lives can be changed forever: maybe they won’t be able to learn, or maybe they won’t be able to perform physical activities. These things can affect the rest of their lives, ruin their futures, cause them to be mentally unstable, and even result in death from many causes.

With all of that possible was it right for your parents to let your play dangerous, contact sports? Should parents nowadays allow their children to play these sports?

As it takes me many attempts and long hours to write this, I ask myself these questions. Those hits I took as a kid, are they the reason I am so easily distracted and I can’t stay focused for long periods of time? What could my abilities be if I didn’t take all of those hits?

Maybe? Maybe not. Either way parents need to consider the consequences of the sports they put their kids in. Even with all of the new safe helmets and equipment, concussions are not slowing down. Rules have even been put into place to prevent concussions, but as we know kids can lose their tempers easily and rules go out the window. Discretion is given to parents as kids do not understand the long term consequences that they face when playing physical, dangerous sports. They just see the thrill of tackling the other player in football or the satisfaction of landing a knockout punch in boxing. This makes parent’s decision even harder as kids enjoy these sports and they beg and beg to play them.

On the other hand, these sports can be beyond beneficial to children. Yes, even with all the risk of minor or serious injuries. The countless hours of fun and enjoyment I had playing the sport I loved so much, the lessons of teamwork, friendship, leadership, and hard work are just some examples that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The values I have learned and how they have stuck with me I could not have gotten elsewhere because of the amount of enjoyment I received while learning them. Kids take great value in these sports as they allow them to release emotion in a controlled way while they learn many human qualities that are needed throughout life.

Do the positives outweigh the possible concussion and negatives of dangerous sports? Should kids be able to play?

We may all have our opinion.

There is one guarantee, finding safer ways to play these sports is what we should focus on for future kids. Eliminating concussions should be a priority as the values children can learn are unparalleled. We need to teach kids how to play safer, whether they are the ones taking the hit or receiving the hit. Simultaneous, equipment has been increased to reduce concussions, but that is not where we should stop, we need to create equipment that will completely eliminate concussions.

If you asked Eric Lindros right now, see here, he might want safer equipment too!

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