Lol, that's the bigger question? Ok, I'll bite.
I can understand why you feel that way Ross, but I have read plenty of studies on youth concussions too - enough to know that football is 4th (according to meta-analyses) on the list of youth sports incidence - begind rugby, hockey, and soccer.
To be honest, I didnt want him to play football at first, but the way it is coached today (heads up), and the slower speed of the youth level games have made me comfortable with it. Also, I see (as many others have noted) a confidence that he gets from football that carries over into his baseball. Scouts, recruiters, and other coaches all seem to love multi-sport athletes. It says something about a player's overall athleticism. Why only stick to one unless you want to or have to?
I teach high school kids every day who play 6 hours of xbox a night and can't climb the flight of stairs next to my room without being winded. Setting a young person up for a lifetime of healthy habits seems just as important to me as educating their minds. If football (or any other sport for that matter) is the avenue they prefer why should I tell them no? Which is truly the greater risk to their long term health? I assume you understand your baseball kid can get hit in the head with a fastball or have his knee taken out on a hard slide, right? The defensive end my son practices against broke his foot last week... walking his dog after practice (he stepped off a curb wrong).
I believe the benefits of sports (at this age specifically) far outweigh the risks of doing nothing - and let's be clear, unless your kid participates in no sport or activity at all, there is some inherent risk.
We can agree to disagree, but we are talking about small percentage point differences in health risks between all major US youth sports. The SI article is very dramatic, but my son is not in the NFL and likely never will be. The NFL guys playing now know the risks, but for some crazy reason they still line up every weekend. Maybe for them the benefits far outweigh the risks.
I'm still not sure if you were serious in your post or just poking the bear, but I hope my thoughts gave you an insight into why people may feel the way I do - even if you disagree.
Uhh, boy. Well, you can certainly question whether it was appropriate to throw that "bigger question" into this thread... probably not. But, your rationalization has some serious holes. This topic has been discussed at length here. I love football - loved playing and love watching, particularly at the amateur levels. I have coached HS baseball for many years and had many players who crossed over. I still attend games regularly and have friends in the coaching circles at various levels. My own kids, now grown, played hockey, soccer, football among other sports. One of mine has had multiple serious run-ins with concussions so, unfortunately, I am all too well versed. We (and, of course, he) are left with the burden of worrying about likely complications for him down the road.
First, I TOTALLY agree with your point about limiting video games and finding healthy physical activities. But, your kid is in HS now. HS varsity football players hit hard. Going forward, your son will be hit repeatedly by young strong athletic angry 200+ lb bundles of trained raging hormones. He will hit back. The harder the hit, the more his teammates and fans will yell for more. (BTW, I am seeing little change in games at this level with regard to "heads up" tackling.) You can no longer use "youth sports" as you compartmentalize and categorize your rationalization. And, are you really going to defend football by saying it is a better alternative than video games or other sports that you consider more dangerous with regard to concussion? Would you say it's OK for your kid to take opioids because it isn't as bad as crack? It's not an "either or" thing. You don't have to choose between two bad alternatives. There are countless good alternatives. There are dozens of sports and physical activities that are not as dangerous as football.
Not too long ago, I would have been excited for my son to be able to play that last year of HS football, to not have doctors telling him absolutely not. I know he would have loved it and I know he would have contributed significantly. What I know now, what we all know now, it is a very difficult decision to put even the healthiest of kids in pads. I won't criticize those who choose to allow. But I will speak up when I am seeing clearly faulty rationalization. Please don't downplay the definitive findings. Yes there is some application to these findings with hockey and soccer as well but, past the youth level, let there be no doubt... football presents the higher likelihood, more danger and a higher risk. I hate that this is the case and sometimes feel torn and hypocritical that I still go out and support the local kids who played for me when they are on the football field. But that is the new reality.
After having suffered several significant concussions during his career, Gronkowski made a statement today, defending the position that he would allow his kids to play, that "it is fixable" (referencing head injury/concussion) It is not. That's the kind of statement from a visible celebrity that is irresponsible and can set us back in figuring out how best to deal with this.