Is it safe for your child to play football? - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Is it safe for your child to play football?

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What do you do when you realize that sport isn't as safe as you once thought it was?

There are new stories and statistics nearly every week about the dangers of playing football. From concussions and spinal cord injuries to torn ligaments and broken bones, the list of potential injuries is long. So how do parents decide whether their child should play?

It came as no surprise to Kim Pinter and her husband, when not just one, but all three of her boys wanted to play football.

"My Dad played, my brothers played, so we just always grew up with it," said Kim.

The Pinters waited until each boy was in the 5th grade before they would allow them to play.  Now, they have got a sophomore, a junior, and a senior on the team at Catholic High.

"It's cool. It is very special," said Kim. "It is an awesome feeling to have them all out there and I am just going… I will never have this moment again... but at least I have it now."

But Kim admits the high of watching her boys play is also shadowed by her fear of them getting hurt.  Two of her sons have suffered concussions during their careers. One a dislocated shoulder and another broke his hand. 

"I do worry with the boys having concussions in the past.  I listen to all of the news reports and all of that, with early Alzheimer's and dementia. I do worry about that and I talk to Ed about it and we pray.  We pray that God keeps them safe and that's what gets us through the worry."

The Pinters are also comforted by the fact that Catholic High has a trainer on staff, a careful coach and new, safer helmets.

John Fogleman has played or coached football his entire life.  He believes there's no other sport that teaches teamwork in quite the same way, but safety is always on his mind.

"If that other team is much bigger, faster, and stronger, that's when they're susceptible to a pretty severe injury. So you try to make sure that some that just aren't quite ready yet, you don't push them to get in there and put them in that position."

Catholic High is fortunate enough to have an orthopedic surgeon watching over their games as well.  Dr. Eric Gordon with Arkansas Specialty Orthopedics has walked the sidelines of high school and professional football games for more than 10 years. 

The new guidelines regarding concussions are a big positive for players, according to Gordon, but he's still not sure he would want his own sons on the field.

"Personally, I'm trying to steer my boys away from it," said Dr. Gordon. "I have four boys and if they wanted to play, I would let them play in the right circumstances.  But I cover a couple of teams that play 7A football, the highest class in the state, and I see how big and strong those kids are and how fast they can run nowadays."

Click here for Jason Pederson's special report on the dangers of football concussions.

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