Hi All,

A search I did on this topic gave some info, but I was hoping for a little more, and maybe some things to watch out for.

My son is a freshman at a large (6A) public school in Texas. He has always chosen baseball as his first sport but enjoys, and has done well in football. Both the HS head football and baseball coaches have been great about letting him do both so far - no concerns there. His grades are solid and he seems to be handling it all well so far.

I was just wondering a few things: Will not playing fall baseball hurt him in the long run (developmentally)? What problems have arisen from doing both in your experience? When he starts doing showcase stuff, will not playing baseball in the fall significantly hurt his exposure?

It seems from what I have read that doing both is fine, I just feel like I am missing something.

Background:

6'1" 180lbs

Football - named starting JV tight end (but told he may move up to Varsity in the next few games if he keeps learning the plays well)

Baseball - HS coaches know him from summer camps and like him - have told him to move straight into off season baseball as soon as football is over. Plays for good (nationally known organization) majors travel team. RHP/3rd/OF. Good measurables this summer, (but I understand not elite) -  FB max 80, cruises 75-76 (pocket radar) with cutter and CU, 7.3 - 60, 80mph EV (off tee with -3). Has not showcased yet (waiting to have something really worth showcasing) but has consistently improved year to year.

High school has solid (borderline playoff level) football and baseball programs. Coaches are very experienced and have been great about him doing both. Football coach told him he thinks he could be a D1 kid in either sport. I think he has a legit chance of making JV baseball team as a freshman but who knows (very competitive for teams: 2 fresh/soph teams, JV, V).

I am aware he will have to keep working hard and getting better to play at the next level, but he seems to be motivated to do that and is on a good track so far.

I know a lot of this "depends" on our situation - I was just hoping for some experiences and things to keep an eye out for. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

Original Post

Mine played football, baseball, and basketball as a varsity starter for three years and chose to not play football his senior year as we had moved and offensive line was not real good and was going to several tournaments that would conflict.  He didn't play much fall ball his freshman year but when he did he pitched only in afternoon games on Saturday or Sunday.  His sophomore year through Junior Year played almost every weekend in some form.  He was blessed to be able to tell the coach when he would be available to play and the coach was fine with it. 

I felt it hurt a little because he was not at full speed during the fall but still was close and did great.  Coaches knew he was doing baseball after a football game on Friday night where he had played both ways and was the kicker.  I felt like maybe basketball hurt him more because he had to work real hard around it to get ready for baseball season but again he wanted it so he did the extra work many times by himself.  If the coaches are fine with it, then it works.  Mine always made football camp during the summer but rarely made any other summer workouts unless he was in town.  It just meant he had to earn his spot back every August when they went full pads which he did every year. 

 

My son played football, basketball and baseball as a freshman in HS (1400 kids in the Chicago Private school) and then dropped basketball before they dropped him sophomore year. 

He definitely benefited playing both football and baseball.  Started on the offense line for junior and senior years where he claimed he was the smallest offensive lineman in the league at 5'11" and 235 pounds.   Started in baseball senior year. 

I truly believe in kids playing multiple sports.  Summer is tough as both coaches wanted his time.

My son played football and baseball in HS.  He considered baseball his #1 sport and the one he wanted to play in college, but he loved playing football and wanted to include it in his HS experience.  My wife and I thought that it was important he have a rich and full HS experience, and as long as he knew there were risks and issues that could impact his opportunity to play baseball in college, we were 100% supportive.

Football workouts began in June.  This included weight lifting and practice 5 mornings a week, with baseball practice, cage work, long toss in the evenings.  He also did a fair amount of travel tournaments (JOs, WWBA, etc) in June and July.  He stopped playing baseball on August 1 each summer to focus on football, which ended early December.  Did this affect his development?  I would say no.  He was a little rusty in December when he started back up, but he quickly got back to game ready.  In fact, the strength training, athleticism and swagger he picked up from football probably made him a better player.

With that said, he missed some baseball opportunities because of football.  He couldn't play scout ball, AC games, Jupiter, plus he missed a lot of additional recruiting opportunities his travel team organized.  Because of this, he decided to not play football his junior year so he can have a full summer and fall of baseball and baseball recruiting.  This made a big difference in his recruiting as he got some great opportunities teed up.  He went back to football his senior year after he committed during the summer.  I will add that I was very nervous about injuries his senior season but he came through unscathed.

Good to hear that the coaches of both sports are working together so far to keep best athletes in multiple sports.  Ultimately how well the coaches work together coupled with the talent in the baseball program will determine your sons ability to do both.  Something to think about before just jumping from football into the baseball class at seasons end is the differences in weight training between the two.  If the baseball class does not provide the big muscle training that football typically does it might be beneficial to stay in the football class as a fresh/soph as that will only benefit on the baseball field as well.  Best of luck to your son.  Multi-sport at the 6A HS level in TX is a tough go especially when you get to V/V...

The most important piece of info is that the coaches are working together and letting him play both.  My 2020 plays football and baseball.  I always joke that the football coaches encourage kids to play multiple sports as long as it doesn't interfere with football.  Football is king at our school and it is pretty much year round.  Playing football made my kid tougher, stronger and more disciplined.  It probably held him back in baseball to some degree because he plays QB and P and there is only so much throwing you can do.  It also hurt him with college camps because he was never at his peak.  Camps were always right after football ended or right when it was ramping up. 

I was just as guilty as everyone else, but parents and kids focus too much on college and the future.  Enjoy the now.  If your kid wants to play multiple sports, go for it.  He gets one shot at it and he needs to have as much fun as possible.  I've seen kids make very poor decisions in high school based on trying to play college sports, only to find out the college sports aren't all they are cracked up to be.  

I was wondering this myself, but with baseball and basketball. My son is a catcher and worried about the hoops schedule in January interfering with his ability to catch bull pens and work with the pitching staff. He's a freshman and will most likely be JV for hoops and varsity for baseball.

The coaches seem supportive but the baseball coach seems to change his demeanor when we ask about January. I get the feeling he would prefer my son only play baseball but that he doesn't want to tell him. 

TerribleBPthrower posted:

I was wondering this myself, but with baseball and basketball. My son is a catcher and worried about the hoops schedule in January interfering with his ability to catch bull pens and work with the pitching staff. He's a freshman and will most likely be JV for hoops and varsity for baseball.

The coaches seem supportive but the baseball coach seems to change his demeanor when we ask about January. I get the feeling he would prefer my son only play baseball but that he doesn't want to tell him. 

Read the thread on catchers and showcasing.  Your son is a freshman, will he get playing time on varsity baseball or  will he just be a bullpen catcher?  How much playing time does he expect as a freshman?  It is all about reps. Let him enjoy school and sports. Save his knees for the summer.

CollegebaseballInsights posted:
TerribleBPthrower posted:

I was wondering this myself, but with baseball and basketball. My son is a catcher and worried about the hoops schedule in January interfering with his ability to catch bull pens and work with the pitching staff. He's a freshman and will most likely be JV for hoops and varsity for baseball.

The coaches seem supportive but the baseball coach seems to change his demeanor when we ask about January. I get the feeling he would prefer my son only play baseball but that he doesn't want to tell him. 

Read the thread on catchers and showcasing.  Your son is a freshman, will he get playing time on varsity baseball or  will he just be a bullpen catcher?  How much playing time does he expect as a freshman?  It is all about reps. Let him enjoy school and sports. Save his knees for the summer.

His coach told me he is going to be the starter for varsity. He’s asking for his gear sizes so he can order the custom team gear for him

TerribleBPthrower posted:
CollegebaseballInsights posted:
TerribleBPthrower posted:

I was wondering this myself, but with baseball and basketball. My son is a catcher and worried about the hoops schedule in January interfering with his ability to catch bull pens and work with the pitching staff. He's a freshman and will most likely be JV for hoops and varsity for baseball.

The coaches seem supportive but the baseball coach seems to change his demeanor when we ask about January. I get the feeling he would prefer my son only play baseball but that he doesn't want to tell him. 

Read the thread on catchers and showcasing.  Your son is a freshman, will he get playing time on varsity baseball or  will he just be a bullpen catcher?  How much playing time does he expect as a freshman?  It is all about reps. Let him enjoy school and sports. Save his knees for the summer.

His coach told me he is going to be the starter for varsity. He’s asking for his gear sizes so he can order the custom team gear for him

This is a tough one.  I am usually in the camp with Collegebaseballinsights as a proponent of multiple sports and the full HS experience when possible.  But you are correct about the issue of catchers working pitchers.  As a HS coach, we would conduct pen ramp-up sessions for the pitching staff, starting several weeks in advance of position player work and then separately when the whole group started working out.  Having multiple catchers to catch pens is essential to efficiency for these workouts.  But far more importantly - while it is certainly feasible to find guys to step in and catch pens, having the catchers that would actually be catching those pitchers in-season is particularly valuable for all involved.  It is great work for P's and C's in many ways.  Pitcher benefits are obvious.  C's get good receiving and blocking reps, learn all the P's ball movement, personalities, tempo, pitch preferences, pitch strengths, they start to get their legs conditioned for the season, etc.

A few of our recent C's played soccer (same time as basketball) and while I always supported our guys playing other sports, this was particularly challenging and somewhat detrimental.  Just something to be aware of so you may be more understanding of the coach's reservations.

TerribleBPthrower posted:
CollegebaseballInsights posted:
TerribleBPthrower posted:

I was wondering this myself, but with baseball and basketball. My son is a catcher and worried about the hoops schedule in January interfering with his ability to catch bull pens and work with the pitching staff. He's a freshman and will most likely be JV for hoops and varsity for baseball.

The coaches seem supportive but the baseball coach seems to change his demeanor when we ask about January. I get the feeling he would prefer my son only play baseball but that he doesn't want to tell him. 

Read the thread on catchers and showcasing.  Your son is a freshman, will he get playing time on varsity baseball or  will he just be a bullpen catcher?  How much playing time does he expect as a freshman?  It is all about reps. Let him enjoy school and sports. Save his knees for the summer.

His coach told me he is going to be the starter for varsity. He’s asking for his gear sizes so he can order the custom team gear for him

Question, does your son think he will be the starting catcher?  Is his strength defense, offense or both for the varsity team. 

Here is why I'm asking, if his strength is defense and he is not physically ready to hit varsity pitching, the coach might DH for him.  Note, his defense will flourish, but his offense will need to wait for the summer.

You will also need to project how many games your son will be playing next year.

He has a high potential to hit a wall around June/July.

# of games (2020)  = High School + Summer Travel + Fall Travel.  So you have potentially 70 to 80 games, (assume he catches 65% of his games. He is potentially catching 45 to 50 games.

The issue for catchers is two-fold,  wear and tear on knees and shoulders, specifically the labrum (SLAP tears are common)

Remember this is a marathon not a sprint, pace and balance is critical

Also, try to stay clear of talking to the coach, let your son create the relationship, as for it will prepare both you and him for what will come down the line.

Good luck.

 

 

 

Question, does your son think he will be the starting catcher?  Is his strength defense, offense or both for the varsity team. 

Here is why I'm asking, if his strength is defense and he is not physically ready to hit varsity pitching, the coach might DH for him.  Note, his defense will flourish, but his offense will need to wait for the summer.

You will also need to project how many games your son will be playing next year.

He has a high potential to hit a wall around June/July.

# of games (2020)  = High School + Summer Travel + Fall Travel.  So you have potentially 70 to 80 games, (assume he catches 65% of his games. He is potentially catching 45 to 50 games.

The issue for catchers is two-fold,  wear and tear on knees and shoulders, specifically the labrum (SLAP tears are common)

Remember this is a marathon not a sprint, pace and balance is critical

Also, try to stay clear of talking to the coach, let your son create the relationship, as for it will prepare both you and him for what will come down the line.

Good luck.

 I would say at this point he is definitely stronger defensively. I would think the possibility of the coach DH’ing  for him is there. As far as whether he thinks he will be the starter, I think he knows it but he does not talk about it or act like  The job is his. 

 My wife and I try to avoid talking to the coach. My son has been on his travel team going on two years so we are somewhat friendly with him. Basically we will not talk to him unless he talks to us first. 

cabbagedad posted:
TerribleBPthrower posted:
CollegebaseballInsights posted:
TerribleBPthrower posted:

I was wondering this myself, but with baseball and basketball. My son is a catcher and worried about the hoops schedule in January interfering with his ability to catch bull pens and work with the pitching staff. He's a freshman and will most likely be JV for hoops and varsity for baseball.

The coaches seem supportive but the baseball coach seems to change his demeanor when we ask about January. I get the feeling he would prefer my son only play baseball but that he doesn't want to tell him. 

Read the thread on catchers and showcasing.  Your son is a freshman, will he get playing time on varsity baseball or  will he just be a bullpen catcher?  How much playing time does he expect as a freshman?  It is all about reps. Let him enjoy school and sports. Save his knees for the summer.

His coach told me he is going to be the starter for varsity. He’s asking for his gear sizes so he can order the custom team gear for him

This is a tough one.  I am usually in the camp with Collegebaseballinsights as a proponent of multiple sports and the full HS experience when possible.  But you are correct about the issue of catchers working pitchers.  As a HS coach, we would conduct pen ramp-up sessions for the pitching staff, starting several weeks in advance of position player work and then separately when the whole group started working out.  Having multiple catchers to catch pens is essential to efficiency for these workouts.  But far more importantly - while it is certainly feasible to find guys to step in and catch pens, having the catchers that would actually be catching those pitchers in-season is particularly valuable for all involved.  It is great work for P's and C's in many ways.  Pitcher benefits are obvious.  C's get good receiving and blocking reps, learn all the P's ball movement, personalities, tempo, pitch preferences, pitch strengths, they start to get their legs conditioned for the season, etc.

A few of our recent C's played soccer (same time as basketball) and while I always supported our guys playing other sports, this was particularly challenging and somewhat detrimental.  Just something to be aware of so you may be more understanding of the coach's reservations.

This is great insight, and seems to validate our son’s decision to not swim this winter as a sophomore. If he did swim, he would miss the first 3 weeks of practice and catching pens. If he made state, it would be even longer.  

Perhaps more importantly, swimming would prevent him from ramping up his arm correctly. This happened last winter and it was telling through the late spring & summer. He took the fall off from playing to really rest (first fall he’s missed in 6 years), and he’s hoping it lets him come back fully replenished. 

But man, he’s gonna miss swimming (and we’ll miss watching him). 

My son payed both football and baseball up to his senior year.  He liked the break from baseball, enjoyed playing the game and really liked the energy of the "Friday Night" games.  Once January came around he was reenergized for the upcoming baseball season and his "arm" was ready to go.  2 sport athletes should play the sport that they enjoy and have fun with regardless of what a coach thinks.  

Having said that, however, during the recruiting process  it can be a problem when OV/UOV present themselves.  With baseball most of these visits take part in the fall and my son found himself missing some football practices and even one game due to a desired visit.  Coach was not happy but understood where my son's future was.  Eventually son committed to a D1 HA his Junior year of HS and "retired" from football his Senior year to assure there was less chance of getting hurt in football.

 

Good Luck!

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.

NorthTXdad posted:

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.

 https://www.msn.com/en-us/spor...fT7U?ocid=spartandhp

 

cabbagedad posted:
NorthTXdad posted:

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.

 https://www.msn.com/en-us/spor...fT7U?ocid=spartandhp

 

HS football can be dangerous, no doubt, but it's not the NFL.  As common as injuries are, the odds are still pretty long regarding a player getting injured, let alone a head injury that causes permanent damage.  There's also redeeming qualities to football that make a comparison to crack/opiods not really fair.  Perhaps a more fair comparison would be - would you let your teenager drive, knowing that he's 10x more likely than an adult to get into an accident and killed?  We all have to make risk/reward decisions regarding raising our kids, and life has risks.

I didn't compare using crack/opioids to football.  I used it as an analogy as it relates to the poster's comment offering only two known bad choices when there are plenty of other better choices.  I will throw this comparison out there, though... one study shows that well over 90% of those playing football at a high level (99% for one fairly large group), show clear presence of CTE.  That certainly puts the danger risk in the range of smoking and boxing.  Do it long enough (and it doesn't have to be all that long) and there will almost certainly be significant consequences.  Would you let or encourage your teen to take up smoking or boxing?    There are certainly redeeming qualities to boxing. 

"... but it's not like the NFL."   -   My son's multiple and significant concussion issues occurred  mostly during HS age.  Several of my son's friends who were aggressive football players had multiple concussion events playing HS football.  Having gone through all the consultations with my son's doctors, I am certain that those friends, too, will suffer long term effects down the road.  There is a young man that played at the same HS who had a serious head collision injury about 4-5 years ago and spent months in the hospital, nearly died.  4 years later, his brain is still recovering.  He will never be the same person.  It took him at least two years to be able to walk without assistance.  There is rarely a HS game that I watch played where there isn't a player from one team or the other that takes a hit and goes through the protocol on the sidelines.  The issue is far from being just an NFL issue.

Also keep in mind, we're not just talking about the single event of significant injury.  The research is clearly showing that the lesser but repetitive incidental helmet-to-helmet impacts are also cumulative and hazardous.  That is the contact that happens with linemen and anyone blocking or tackling several times every single contact practice. 

I would not knowingly allow my teen to take up smoking, and I would not support him boxing either.  I'm not aware that 90% of high level football players have evidence of CTE, but I doubt that statistic includes HS football players.  Like I said, more teens die and get injured from driving - would you let your teen drive?

This may be of interest...

https://www.cnn.com/2017/07/25...ins-study/index.html

Yes, for this particular test, the HS numbers are definitely less but still significant.  The college numbers go through the roof.  HS sample size was quite small.  Here's another issue... let's say your kid is good.  That means he'll likely want to play at the next level.  Are you going to watch him have a great HS career and then when the recruiters come a knocking, tell him he can't play any more?

Also, as I said before, HS varsity is often very athletic man-sized individuals hitting very hard.  Are the risks really THAT much different than college where the likelihood is overwhelmingly high?  

As far as the teen drivers dying, that is definitely an issue.  But there is not a 90+ % likelihood they will die if they drive.  More teen drivers DIE from driving that they do from CTE but more teen drivers don't suffer neurodegeneration and significant challenges with physical and mental health later in life because they drove as teens.  More teen drivers die from driving also because far more teens drive than play football at the HS varsity level or higher.

 

Maybe my view is colored by my son's HS experience.  He had one D1 player on his team, an Ivy leaguer.  He had a handful of D3 players on his team, and most of the players were far less than 200 pounds.  In a 12 game schedule perhaps 2 or 3 opposing players were D1 players.  They didn't tackle or have any contact in practice. This was not Trinity League, Bishop Gorman, Don Bosco, etc.  But it was D5 out of 12 divisions (CIF-SS), so there are more lower/smaller/weaker divisions below than there are bigger/stronger programs above.

My son played receiver and safety along with kick returner and most plays he wasn't involved in tackling or being tackled.  When there was contact he was doing most of the damage.  Of course I always worry about head and neck injuries, and I realize the risk is there.  Honestly, I worried more about him blowing out his knee or ankle. Maybe I had my head in the sand, but I'm not sure.  I just didn't see many instances in 4 years of the violent collisions that we see in the NFL, NCAA and perhaps very high-level HS football.  I agree high-level HS football with NCAA-bound players is a whole different thing and I probably would have pushed back on football if my son attended one of these HS programs.

Hi NORTHTXDAD,

I look at it first from a health standpoint: is your son big and fast enough and aggressive enough to withstand the dangers of football? The more timid players tend to be the ones getting hurt. On the other side of the coin, doctors will tell you multi-sport athletes get injured less because they use a variety of muscles and experience less boredom. And finally, in our situation, college baseball coaches loved that my son played football (and basketball) as well as football. The coach of his college team actually went out to see one of his football games in high school! My son still played a baseball game here or there and did almost daily hitting drills during the fall but really enjoyed playing football and I'm glad he was able to experience that. I think he learned more from being on a football team than he did playing any other sport.

Best of luck.

I appreciate the discussion everyone. I am always open to hearing the other side of a topic. Cabbagedad and Smitty, I really enjoyed what you wrote.

I do think it depends on your situation. If the kid is 5'6" and 130 lbs and is playing at the highest level then it can certainly be an issue. What I watch on the field given my son's size, position, and level of competition gives me more of a comfort level. Again, I was not wild about the idea of him playing football for all of the reasons you are all citing. That is why I did a lot of research on it. Also, here in Texas anyway, the reduction in players has forced the coaches to address the issue within the way they teach kids now. Since he was on the 7th grade team they teach heads up tackling and protecting your body now. Concussion protocols are in place and baseline testing is free for all players. I'm certainly not saying it is "safe" now, and if my kid ever gets 2 concussions (none so far thank God) I have already told myself that will be the time to have a talk to him about dropping football for the reasons some of you have personally experienced. I just see so much positive out of it right now I am not willing to "make" him give up something he enjoys and gets so much confidence from. 

Also, there is a part of me that knows it will likely figure itself out on it's own. If he is throwing upper 80s by the time he is a junior and is still 6'1", then it will be obvious his future is as a pitcher, not a TE. If not, maybe football will be his only opportunity to play college sports - if that is even what he wants to do. 

Thanks all for your thoughts - especially the opposing views that included such thoughtfulness and detail. These are the things I wrestle with, and I appreciate reading others' experiences. 

Anybody quoting that research as a reason not to play football may want to reconsider the research. It's poor research that's getting pushed around. Until we study the brains of most people who die, we won't really know. Remember, there was a recent study released that found CTE in individuals with no history of any type of collision sport....

As for the question about playing multiple sports, I'll stick with my philosophy I've shared before... Play as many sports as you want and DO NOT let a coach dictate what sports you play until they are paying you. Whether that's a club coach, high school coach, or a college coach. 

Bulldog 19 posted:

Anybody quoting that research as a reason not to play football may want to reconsider the research. It's poor research that's getting pushed around. Until we study the brains of most people who die, we won't really know. Remember, there was a recent study released that found CTE in individuals with no history of any type of collision sport....

As for the question about playing multiple sports, I'll stick with my philosophy I've shared before... Play as many sports as you want and DO NOT let a coach dictate what sports you play until they are paying you. Whether that's a club coach, high school coach, or a college coach. 

Geez, I really wanted to let this rest.  Bulldog, I know you are an athletic trainer.  The primary study WAS done on brains of deceased.  Combine that with other studies that primarily concur, along with the vast majority of the medical profession, specifically brain researchers and brain specialists, along with all of the many well-documented and publicized tragic end-of-life conditions of those such as Junior Seau, Dave Duerson, Andre Waters, Kenny Stabler, Mike Webster, Aaron Hernandez, Frank Gifford, Stan Mikita (hockey) and many more, are you really suggesting the threat is not real?  That the disease is not real?  Not as generally depicted in the primary research?  That "poor research that's getting pushed around" matches up exactly with what the many medical specialists we were referred to for son have had to say.

I also grew up in the same town as Bernie Kozar and Ray "Boom boom" Mancini.  Both were slurring their speech in their 40's.  Bernie has suffered several other symptoms as well.  You should read some of his interviews about how he is trying to overcome some of it and how he is watching all of his fellow players from his era decline (specifically with CTE symptoms)...   "and when it starts to go south, it goes south quickly".

I'm going to step away and allow this thread to get back on topic.  You can lead a horse to water...

Lol. You guys are too funny. I absolutely believe CTE is real and has / does affect many former and current players in the NFL and even at lower levels. I also believe that although there is still some significant risk at any level, that risk (especially at the HS level) has gone way down in the last 5 years. I know if my kid starts getting his bell rung, my tolerance level will change, but until then I feel the way I feel. 

That being said, if he told me tomorrow that he decided he wanted to quit football and focus solely on baseball I would be supportive (and if I'm being honest, a little glad).

Hey BOF, maybe you were genuinely trying to help, but you should understand that a response like that comes across as abrasive and condescending - particularly when I stated both of those points in previous posts. 

No hard feeling man.

I guess I will go cancel that Nike meeting now (see, i can be snarky too)  ; )

Yeah, but I'm not holding my breath for anything. I have just left the ball in his court and am just trying to offer some low level guidance here and there. It is great to have this forum with so many people to chat with.

BOF - sorry if I was a little abrasive as well, you may have meant well. I am just one of those that if I think you threw at me I am already charging the mound. I have tried to mellow in my age - tried being the operative word.

No worries If anyone thinks this thread is abrasive.... look up TRhit. 

This was my first question also when I found this site many moons ago and Mary Ann Shappi  gave me the exact advice I posted. (RIP...both TR and MA) Play as many sports as possible until the competition is such that your son needs to specialize. The top athletes usually don't, but most kids here eventually do because they are not "Bo Jackson". 

 

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