The topic of concussions is still a hot one around all levels of football, but a handful of Iowans who went on to play in the NFL say they’re not overly worried about the future of the sport. Tim Dwight played ten years in the NFL, and says that while football is an inherently violent sport, some risks can be avoided.
“It’s a great sport, but we have to do certain things to protect the participants,” Dwight says. He says they now have more information on concussions and need to teach kids to tackle properly. Dwight says they should also look at the helmet and see if it has too much plastic.
Dwight says the same thinking can be applied to other professions as well. “You cannot build an industry where at the end of the life of a player he’s got dementia, he’s got depression, he’s got mental problems because of what he’s done on the job,” he says. Dwight says it’s the same as a factory worker who worked with asbestos, as he says asbestos will eventually kill that worker. He says the problems in football need to be addressed.
Fellow Iowan Kurt Warner said last month that he would have second thoughts about letting his kids play football, but former New York Jet Derek Pagel says he will support his kids whether they decide to play the game or not. Pagel says it is up to the kids on what they want to do and that’s probably because that’s the way he was treated by his parents.
Former Detroit Lion Jared DeVries says he can already tell his son’s have a love for football, and he’s not going to stand in the way of that passion. “Even if I had concerns, they are kids and they are gonna want to play,” DeVries says. He says he would not take the ability to play away from his kids.
DeVries is now spending part of his time as an assistant coach at the high school level, where he says the rules about head injuries are a lot clearer than they are in the pros. He says things are out of the coaches hands if someone may have a concussion, they have to be pulled out of the game.
New Hampton native Mike Humpal says that a lot of injuries could possibly be avoided by keeping kids from playing tackle football until their bodies have matured, rather than starting them off as early as third grade, as some leagues do. “Absolutely it’s early, I mean it’s way early,” Humphal says. He says the young kid’s bodies haven’t developed and people are trying to put boys into a mens’ game.
By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls