(PRWEB) November 21, 2012
As families and friends gather to watch and play football this weekend, therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil hopes continued measures are taken to ensure the safety of everyone involved. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently responded to critiques that the League didn’t take quarterbacks out of the game after they suffered concussions. (http://bit.ly/Sc5287). Goodell says the culture that emphasized the need to keep players in the game in spite of injury is changing, but it will take time. Dr. Bonnie agrees: football is at a crossroads, and the League is trying to make it safer by instituting new measures. She knows the NFL will take these restrictions even more seriously, as a model for families, friends, and kids who will be playing the sport themselves this weekend.
Concussions have been linked to a number of serious conditions – even suicide, so it’s important to take safety seriously (http://bit.ly/UdsWCv). Brain studies of deceased NFL players who suffered from depression and dementia have found a condition known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which may further illuminate the connection between the physical trauma of football and later emotional problems. Additionally, former NFL players continue to work with the League over concussions.
The NFL has always been focused toward kids and families, observes Dr. Bonnie, who speaks to her experience at the Superbowl each year where “there are monitors, experiences, and activities geared toward children and their parents.” The NFL is aware that young kids engaging in a contact sport can be dangerous, and since the season for youth football is here, the League is taking a firm stand about safety and hoping parents take note. Dr. Bonnie recognizes that parents face a big dilemma when it comes to letting their children play.
“A child’s brain isn’t fully formed, even as a teenager,” explains Dr. Bonnie, “which explains why they sometimes make poor choices. So how will playing in high school, college, or even youth football leagues affect brain development?” Concussions when brains aren’t fully developed are particularly dangerous. A study done by Virginia Tech and Wake Forest found that “although youth league players have fewer and lower-magnitude head impacts than high school and college players, high-magnitude hits do occur, and most happen in practice,” according to the study. New types of equipment are emerging to better protect players and to provide data on the number and types of hits they sustain.
The NFL has limited the number of hits allowed in practice and started employing concussion experts to watch the game from the sidelines and provide insight as to when certain players should be taken out. Hopefully schools and community leagues will follow suit. Dr. Bonnie advocates that football remain a part of the American fabric, but that the issues which come along with it are addressed. “The answer is not to get rid of football, but to change it to make it safer. Don’t take it away from young kids – it teaches them how to get along, how to follow rules, to be consistent and how to healthily sublimate aggression and not act it out in a sadistic way.” In a world where bullying has become such a prominent issue, it’s very important for kids to learn how to deal with their anger and aggression in the correct way, says Dr. Bonnie. This is even a lesson being learned in the NFL, with the recent scandal concerning players who were getting paid to hurt opposing players and take them out of the game. “The important lesson for our kids,” points out Dr. Bonnie, “is that it’s not ok to bully – and football can help them release some of the emotions that might other wise lead to bullying experiences.” In the same way as going for a run or working out can help sublimate anger, football can as well.
Dr. Bonnie says the game can be made safer and still be a great way to have family and friends get together. It gets men and boys – who are often quiet – to open up. That’s something worth saving, she says!
To see Dr. Bonnie talking more about dealing with emotions in a healthy way, click here: http://youtu.be/vOIomp6CHSo. For more on the connection between finances and relationships, check out her book Financial Infidelity, and Dr. Bonnie wants people to make up with football, not break up! (More in her book, Make Up Don’t Break Up). Check out her 5 Star Video Contributor” via YouTube/Googlehttps://www.youtube.com/user/drbonnieweil