Parents don’t always know what’s best

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Illinois state Rep. Carol Sente, D-Vernon Hills, right, introduces the Dave Duerson Act to Prevent CTE at a news conference Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, in Chicago. The Dave Duerson Act is named for the Chicago Bears defensive back who was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy after he killed himself at the age of 50, would ban organized tackle football for Illinois children younger than 12 years old. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) ORG XMIT: ILCA103

As a neurologist, I have spoken with many parents and coaches about the dangers of youth football. Many do not want to hear anything negative about the game. After presenting the vast scientific evidence demonstrating that football may permanently damage kids’ brains, too many parents ignore the advice.

I disagree with the Sun-Times editorial (“Kids playing tackle football? Your call, parents, not government’s,” Jan. 25) that we can leave this decision to parents and coaches. Thousands of young boys go through life with lower IQs due to football. Many more suffer from chronic neurological illnesses because of repeated blows to the head. The stakes are too high to leave it to the parents.

I am the neurologist working together with State Rep. Carol Sente on the Dave Duerson Act.

Lawrence Robbins, M.D., Riverwoods

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Youth should be spared risk of brain injury

I had a successfulrun in amateur kickboxing and did well in amateur boxing. Looking back now, I am glad that started competing in these sports in my early 20s because my brain had pretty much already developed by then.That is not the case for children under 12.

I am also happy that my close friends told me that I should walk away from the matches after seeing me win several tough competitive wars.The science is clear, and the Dave Duerson Act does not go far enough. It should ban tackle football for any person under the age of 18.We do not allow parents to feed their children arsenic; we should not allow parents to let their children play in a sport that will certainly lower their intelligence or do far worse.

We should ask ourselves, what is the cost to society of having thesechildren grow up and never meeting their true potential?I fear the great majority of children who will continue to play tacklefootball will come from families that can least afford it.

Many affluent and better-educated families have already decided that their children will not play tackle football.Wrestling or jiu-jitsu provide great opportunitiesfor those that desire contact sports and the chance for headtrauma is much, much lower.Please reconsider your editorial and support the Dave Duerson Act.

Alcides Espinal, Palatine

Age limit needed for tackle football

We must remind ourselves there are many laws in our society that have age restrictions such as 21 for drinking and smoking, 16 to drive, and I’m not sure what the age limit is to get a marriage license, but I’m sure there is one.

As a society, we have decided that it is in the best interest of young people not to do these activities. Not playing tackle football until 12 is logically equivalent.

If the majority of people support such a law I would have no problem with it. And personally, l would support such a law.

Charles Kay, Homewood

Let Bannon’s debate speak for itself

The current brouhaha at the University of Chicago over presumed white nationalist and ousted presidential adviser Steve Bannon’s appearance at a business school debate brings to mind my experience on the subject as a freshman therein 1963.

We incoming newbies were invited to a speech by Nation of Islam leaderElijah Muhammad, who spent much of his talk castigating white people as oppressors of America’s still segregated black population. Things got a little tense as Muhammadexclaimed that all white people are devils and at that moment, a freshman jumped up and shouted, “I am not a devil,” breaking the tension in the auditorium.

I don’t expect a current U. of C. freshman to jump up and exclaim, “I am not a white nationalist,” if Bannon’s xenophobia begins to show during the debate. Let Bannon speakand make a fool of himselfof himself discrediting his views, which are headed for the scrapheap of history — the current leader of that movement occupying the Oval Office — notwithstanding.

Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn

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