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Rough play is riskier than heading in youth soccer: Study
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Parents, you need to worry about the impact of concussions on your kids

FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2014 file photo, Sam Schneider, left, practices with his U16-9798 Premiere club soccer team at St. Louis Soccer Park in St. Louis, Mo. A study published Monday, July 13, 2015, in the journal JAMA Pediatrics of U.S. high school games found that over 1 in 4 concussions occurred when players used their head to hit the ball. But more than half of these heading-related concussions were caused by collisions with another player rather than with the ball. (Sarah Conrad/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP) EDWARDSVILLE INTELLIGENCER OUT; THE ALTON TELEGRAPH OUT

I will begin by saying that I am the furthest you can be from being a helicopter parent.

But as a father of two young children, you can now count me in with the parents who are freaked out about concussions.

Over the past few months, athletes have been announcing their intentions to donate their brains for concussion research. This includes U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer Len Oliver, who happens to be 82 years old.

Over the weekend, Dale Earnhardt threw his hat, er, brain into the ring as well.

Wait, I get football and soccer players, but NASCAR drivers? Yes, smashing into a wall at 175 mph isn’t so good for your dome piece!

These are athletes that have sustained a lifetime of knocks to the head and I applaud each one of them for stepping up and underlining the importance of this research!

When it comes to my kids, let’s face it, they’re mine — they have huge heads. Just by head size alone, they are more at risk for concussions!

Over the past year, both of them have been diagnosed with concussions. No, they don’t play football or soccer. They simply took a couple of serious falls.

Here’s where things got REALLY scary.

The doctor informed me that developing brains take about a year to fully recover from a concussion! Yes, that’s 12 months.

So think about it: When Junior gets pulled from the football game because he took a helmet-to-helmet smack or little Susie starts seeing 45 soccer players on the field after a strong header, how long is it before they are back on the field?

A couple of plays? A week until the next game?

I doubt it is until next season, 12 months from now.

These damaged, underdeveloped brains are now at risk of greater injury and long-term damage because they haven’t had enough time to heal.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Ask your doctor at your next appointment. Heck, just read the list of pro athletes that are so sure that concussions are a major problem that they are donating their brains to the research.

Look, I’m not saying to yank your kid from the field this weekend. I’m simply suggesting that you do your homework and listen to both doctors who are treating patients with brain injuries AND pro athletes who are suffering from the long-term damage.

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