Head Games


Roll With It
I know a LOT of us have kids and/or grandkids who play sports. While I have known about the dangers of head injuries, I was unaware of the lasting effects they can have on a person. Given that most of our kids play on teams that do not have professional coaches or even coaches with training in head injuries or other injuries, I think that every single one of us should watch the film "Head Games".

Given the challenges our difficult children already have, head injuries can be a real and scary threat. especially because most people don't even really understand what a concussion is and is not. Just because you can walk and 'shake it off' after a few minutes or you don't have blurry vision or double vision or nausea does NOT mean you did not get a concussion! The damage that is done is very scary and if we don't know about it we cannot make informed decisions about what is and is not an acceptable risk for ourselves and our kids.

while we can't, and shouldn't, protect our kids from every potential harm, we do need to stay informed about the dangers they face. For my children, esp Wiz and Jess, that danger was on the soccer field. I have a cousin who is a physical therapist with Mayo and she strongly urged that I prohibit ALL headers for my kids. Our local league rules said that a child had to be 14 before they could do headers in a game and my cousin said this was just guaranteed to create serious problems down the road for them. I had more than a few coaches who got really upset that I wanted to at least enforce the league rules (J had to stop playing at age 12 due to her health issues not related to sports and Wiz chose to stop even earlier) and to NOT have the kids practicing headers at the grand old age of 8 or 10 due to the risk of injury - and not just my kids.

I didn't have a clue about concussions and other brain injuries, I was more worried about the muscles and vertebrae and the spinal cord being injured. Had I known about concussions, etc... I would have been even more adamant about it.

What do you think about the movie, and the risk of injury in sports? Would you push for changes in sports, esp for your child, after seeing the movie and the info on concussions? Did you know that even a very mild concussion is a serious injury? I sure didn't.

Here is a link to the movie on hulu (not sure if you need hulu plus to watch it here) :
It is also on Xfinity if you have that service (may be able to sign in via your cable tv co): http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/watch/...ies#filter=online&episode=7343234384976252112

If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch it for free here: http://www.amazon.com/Head-Games-Cindy-Parlow-Cone/dp/B009ENK7KW

Here it is for free on snagfilm: http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/head_games

So what do you think?

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Every year as wrestling season starts we get information from the school about the dangers of concussions. We need to sign saying we read it. I haven't watched the video yet. difficult child wears head gear and mouth gear while wrestling. It doesn't take all of the risk away but helps. It makes me nervous but he loves wrestling and it has given him so much joy and a bit of an opportunity to experience what other high school kids who don't have disabilities do. He has received so much from the camaraderie of his teammates.


Well-Known Member
I am terrified of head injuries and glad that my boys had no interest in playing football and that this is finally getting attention. I am a huge NFL follower and am aghast at the names of old players I loved who are now being affected by memory loss and functionality problems at such young ages. I'm a Packers fan and there is some minor whispering around here that even Bret Favre is starting to have these issues and he only just retired.

I know my son wants my grandson to play football and I know my grandso is an avid sports fan and will want to play everything. I hope there is more care taken with the health of our younger children now that we know what can happen when you are repeatedly hit on the head. Grandson is six so I am assuiming that by the time he is playing football with any contact, if he does, there will be protective rules in place at least for underage children.

For pro football? I think it's up to the players as they are adults, but I think it is within their rights to push for more safety. We enjoy watching them play and I know they make a ton of money, but they have live with themselves after retirement and all the money on earth can't buy back a good brain once it is damaged. I have no problem if they take care of themselves better.


Roll With It
I am glad that the schools are taking this seriously. None of my kids played sports in school. jess would have played soccer but her body just would NOT cooperate. Now I am not so sad about that as I was. I would not have forbidden it, but I would have said, and advocated for team-wide, no headers. Those are just a disaster in slow motion, in my opinion. Having had to have 2 operations on my neck, I was super careful about ANY neck/head injury even before seeing this or any of this info being made public.

It is actually the kids in the youth leagues and intra-mural leagues that I think are at the most risk. We have seen some changes in husband's nephew over the last few years that I believe may be due to this. He played every sport he could except soccer, and often they would overlap and he might have 2 or even 3 practices a day to fit it all in. Esp in the summer. Winning was EVERYTHING to his coaches (it just isn't fun unless you win was the rationale they gave) and they had to deal with other health issues like anorexia from wrestling to make weight class when nephew was only 8 yo.

He has always been the sweetest guy, and very smart, but in the last year he is showing some memory issues and other signs of problems. Given that he has had more than 3 DIAGNOSED concussions and that he didn't tell anyone until at least the end of the game or even late that night that he had a problem, I can only imagine that this may be a big issue in his life.

At young ages, the coaches are parents and parents just are not trained about all of this. Heck, we had soccer coaches who told kids to go stand under trees during lightning if the ref or a parent objected to practicing during storms with lightning. Took the league making a big stink to get most of the coaches to agree that kids should not practice during lightning - which is just idiotic, in my opinion. The risk of concussion wasn't on anyone's radar then, and I don't know if it would be now. We had coaches calling the girls names like sissy if they didn't want to play on sprained ankles or messed up knees, I cannot imagine them being okay with a kid not playing because they were dizzy or had a headache. It will take a LOT for this to change in my area. I hope that it does change though.


Well-Known Member
easy child plays hockey, and they take concussion prevention very seriously. All players wear head, neck and mouth protection, many of the leagues have removed contact (I.e. body checking) for younger players, they have to do a baseline functioning test at the beginning of each season, and if a player gets a concussion they are pulled from the roster until they have medical clearance and match their baseline performance.

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Well-Known Member
My boys have both played both lower and high risk sports, when it comes to head injuries. Paradoxically things have in some ways been better in high risk sports; when my boys were old enough to be at risk, it was already a real hot topic in that sports and lots was being done. Restrictions of more dangerous activities for young children, taking any head injury seriously, lots and lots of development of equipment and related things (even some quite costly investments for team owners in adult level, where risks are the biggest) and changes is how rules are interpreted. They have even stopped talking about concussions and are now talking about brain injuries instead: That really makes one stop even if it doesn't change a subject matter on itself.

However in sports, that are considered safer, many coaches etc. are really clueless. I have seen kid being let to continue playing after clear hit on the head and symptoms to match.

My easy child is right now in the most risky age in his sport. Almost as quick and strong than adults, but much less forward planning. I do worry about head injuries with him. Luckily he has never hurt his head. His worst sport injuries to date have been bones and joints.

Neither has difficult child ever had a concussion I would know about. And he haven't had one in sports, of that I'm quite sure. But he was always an accident prone child and he was also bullied for years and years; and I mean kick to the head and stomp on him kind of bullied. It is possible he has had concussions and never told us anything about it. He was extremely secretive as a child especially about everything related to bullying.

However with him I worry more about different type of sport injuries. His sport is cruelling to one's body. He has basically signed for living rest of his life with chronic pain already. It is just so hard for one's joints; I'm talking about joint replacements for athletes in their thirties kind of hard. Many book cleaning for their joints from their orthopaedics after every season as much as a routine matter than other people booking cleaning of their teeth with their dentist. difficult child has been lucky this far, he hasn't had any bigger problems yet. But this spring, over a month after his season ended, he one morning told me how he had been feeling really strange whole morning and that he finally figured out what was wrong: He wasn't in any pain at all.


Well-Known Member
I have heard that coaches for younger players now have to be certified in head trauma. It has a name but I cant recall it. None of the coaches my boys played for would have allowed a kid to continue playing if they had been even possibly hurt. I do support all the new safety equipment possible. Hopefully soon they can find a way to make the helmets for football more like the helmets for NASCAR. As odd as it may sound, the drivers there are safer going 200 mph in those cars than 55 mph in a normal car.