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When It Comes to Sports Concussions and CTE, Look Beyond Football

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12/05/2023
chicago.suntimes.com

I read with interest the Sun-Times’ Sunday editorial “Just say no to tackle football for kids.”

I have been a high school teacher and football coach, college strength coach, professional strength coach, and college adjunct professor. There should not be any argument — tackle football for any athlete under the age of 11 should not occur.

Flag football at a young age would help develop the movement and coordination skills necessary to enjoy the game more. I have seen “big kids” pigeonholed as linemen at a young age, and they don’t develop a variety of skills that would help them at a later date. Many eventually quit the game. Flag football at that young age would be beneficial in the short and long term.

My criticism is that the editorial singled out football for chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Is it a concern? Yes. Is it the only contact sport that needs to be evaluated? No.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 375 words.

Statistics from completeconcussions.com show that ice hockey has more concussion injuries based on athletic exposures in youth sports.

There needs to be a more thorough study of athletes under 11 and a more thorough evaluation of girls’ sports. Differentiating between practice and game concussions should be discussed.

To demonize football does an injustice to your editorial.

Tim Lang, Arlington Heights

Recalling civility in politics

George W. Bush might not be your favorite American president. Many resented how he became commander in chief in 2000, but he knew how to leave office. On election night in 2008, after Barack Obama defeated Sen. John McCain for the presidency, Bush offered the kind of message that might be extinct today.

He congratulated Obama and then-Vice President-elect Joe Biden on their impressive victory before praising McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin in their determined effort.

Then, Bush delivered a crash course on political discourse.

“Many of our citizens thought they would never live to see that day,” Bush said. “This moment is especially uplifting for a generation of Americans who witnessed the struggle for civil rights with their own eyes, and four decades later, see a dream fulfilled.”

Bush wasn’t considered a great orator, but he could convincingly poke fun at himself, and unify people in a dark or uplifting moment. His remarks that night remind us that it’s OK for Republicans and Democrats to commend each other occasionally without hoots from the partisan peanut gallery.

The Bush family became fast friends with the Obamas and Bill and Hillary Clinton despite past spirited political differences. They found commonality and friendship anyway. Why can’t the rest of us do that?

Jim Newton, Itasca

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