Sally Jenkins’s Oct. 2 Sports column, “CTE [chronic traumatic encephalopathy] is NFL’s modern version of black lung,” perpetuated popular but mistaken views on sports concussions. I am a neurosurgeon and mother of a high school football player. No published study supports the notion that playing this sport engenders domestic violence . To assert a link between football and CTE , a degenerative brain disease, and then with domestic violence, trivializes the discussion.
Nothing is more important to me than my son’s health and safety. Are there risks involved with football? Yes, as there are with every sport. However, calling youth tackle football “incredibly harmful” is itself harmful and regrettable in a society that faces a childhood obesity epidemic and widespread increase in sedentary lifestyles.
The culture is changing. Best practices for concussion prevention, recognition and treatment are endorsed by leaders in medicine and education. USA Football, the sport’s governing body, is advancing protocols based on the best available scientific evidence.
Parents, coaches and players know to remove an athlete from play immediately when concussion is suspected. Though media report a possible link between repeated head trauma and CTE, this research is in its infancy.
Parents and athletes deserve reports rooted in fact, not fear.
Gail Rosseau, Chicago
The writer is a board member of USA Football.