Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist featured in the film ‘Concussion’ and the first to associate head trauma with CTE among American football players, penned a piece in the New York Times where he says children should not be able to play high-impact contact sports like football until they are 18.
The human brain becomes fully developed at about 18 to 25 years old. We should at least wait for our children to grow up, be provided with the information and education on the risk of play, and let them make their own decisions. No adult, not a parent or a coach, should be allowed to make this potentially life-altering decision for a child.
The crux of his piece suggests children don’t make decisions for themselves and can’t veto being involved in high-contact sports. He suggests a legal age should be put in place so that a person has to consent to being involved in a dangerous game.
We have a legal age for drinking alcohol; for joining the military; for voting; for smoking; for driving; and for consenting to have sex. We must have the same when it comes to protecting the organ that defines who we are as human beings.
96% (87 out of 91) deceased former NFL players tested positive for CTE in a recent study from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University.
The NFL agreed to $765 million settlement in a lawsuit filed against former players claiming to be suffering from medical conditions connected with football-related head injuries. The settlement is currently on hold due to some players appealing.
Omalu’s findings are the basis for the upcoming Sony film Concussion, based on Jeanne Marie Laskas’ GQ article Game Brain. Will Smith stars as Omalu in the film, which has been airing trailers during NFL games in recent weeks.