The deaths of former NFL players including Dave Duerson, Andre Waters, Justin Strzelczyk and Junior Seau to name a few all have since been linked to CTE, which is a degenerative brain disease.
Now the pathologist who uncovered the link between NFL players and CTE, which stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is recommending that parents not permit their children to play football or other high contact sports that could leave their heads exposed to concussions.
Nigerian-born Dr Bennet Omalu is the forensic pathologist who found medical evidence linking NFL players who sustained concussions received from repeated blows to the head to dementia and other neurological problems.
Omalu will be portrayed by Will Smith in the upcoming film “Concussion.” In a New York Times Op-Ed called ‘Don’t Let Kids Play Football’ published on Monday, Omalu wrote that full contact sports including football, ice hockey, boxing and mixed martial arts puts kids and young athletes at risk for permanent damage of brain functionality at the cellular level.
“It is our moral duty as a society to protect the most vulnerable of us. The human brain becomes fully developed at about 18 to 25 years old,” Omalu said.
He added, “We should at least wait for our children to grow up, be provided with the information and education on the risk of play, and let them make their own decisions.”
Omalu, who first diagnosed CTE in 2002 wrote, ‘Our children are minors who have not reached the age of consent. It is our moral duty as a society to protect the most vulnerable of us. The human brain becomes fully developed at about 18 to 25 years old.”
“We should at least wait for our children to grow up, be provided with the information and education on the risk of play, and let them make their own decisions.”
“No adult, not a parent or a coach, should be allowed to make this potentially life-altering decision for a child.”
The editorial ended with the doctor suggesting there should be a legal age limit for football, similar to drinking alcohol, voting, joining the military, smoking, driving or consenting to have sex.
Omalu’s findings has received staunch blowback from the NFL, which is explained in the movie, in theaters Christmas day.