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Divorce Turns High School Football from Pastime to Legal Dispute

Playing football is seen as a rite of passage for many young boys. For parents, having their son in the sport is a source of pride. Not to say the game is without its downfalls. From minor scrapes to broken bones football can be a dangerous passion. When it comes to concussions, tends to be especially true. As a parent, you are an advocate for what is best for your child and their future. Recently football has become a point of contention in family court. Divorcing couples are battling it out in an effort to decide if their child should be allowed to participate in an activity where the outcome of one bad play could leave lasting damage.

From the field to the courtroom

One such case has made headlines recently as a Pennsylvania man is locked into a bitter battle with his ex-wife over the right of their child to play the sport. The high school junior is a dedicated athlete and his father is concerned, due to the boy’s history of concussions, that continuing to play could lead to serious health issues down the road. However, the mother thinks the boy should be allowed to be an active member of the team because “he understands the risks.”

Safety first

Researchers at Boston University have been able to verify that there is a link between playing football and cognitive injuries. The study found boys who began playing tackle football at the age 12 or younger suffered significantly greater behavioral and cognitive problems than those who started playing the game in their teens. Although the scientific facts are still emerging surrounding the threat of neurological damage due to playing football as an adolescent, this has not stopped concerned parents from trying to change custody orders in an attempt to get their children to stop playing before it is too late.

There is a decade worth of studies supporting the idea that football injuries are related to long-term brain damage. For parents fighting a custody battle, what may not seem like a crucial decision turns into one when the outcome can have life-altering consequences.

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