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There is nothing quite like a hit over the middle in a football game. A ballet-graceful wide receiver at full extension grabs a tightly thrown pass only to be smacked down like a rag doll by a heat-seeking safety. The play encompasses what makes football ...

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Debbi Bewley

September 12, 2013  8:01pm

Football runs strong in my family ...my husband coaches high school football and my two boys play in college. My boys have played since they were 7 & 8 with no concussions until last year. Because they have been raised with the proper way to play and how to recognize a concussion they know how to handle it. Proper coaching at the younger ages is key and unfortunately most of the coaches in pee wee leagues are dads living through their boys, not making safe decisions. I have seen my share of dad coaches putting boys on the field that have no business being there due to injury. Though I understand the concern brought by this article I think parents need to pay close attention to how this child's coach handles injuries. That is thre best place to start. I also must add that my husband has witnesses to many young men on the football field and I would never, ever ask him to give that up.

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audrey ruth

September 11, 2013  1:07am

P.S. Youth soccer is much more prevalent in my area. "Heading" is a serious issue and concussions have resulted. Youth football coaches seem to be much more concerned about this issue than soccer coaches. Also - it is true (as others have noted) that other sports like hockey and basketball involve a lot of hard-hitting. It seems to be rare for hockey players to have all their teeth, and basketball players often land HARD on their heads on a hard surface. It is also QUITE a stretch to "compare" football players to gladiators! Gladiators fought to the death. Exaggeration does not add to your argument; it detracts from it.

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audrey ruth

September 11, 2013  12:51am

Oh.my.goodness, do believers really have faith in FOOTBALL? If so, what god do they believe in? It's a sad fact that idolatry abounds in this world, and if people really do worship this sport, it is one god among zillions. As I was reading this, I wondered if boxing would ever be mentioned and saw that it finally was. It (and pro wrestling, not mentioned, but having zillions of fanatical followers) are even more violent than football. That said, we who are serious about the Lord would do well to remember that He says in His Word that He takes no pleasure in the strength of a man's legs, but in a faithful heart. Unfortunately, so many churches and believers today seem to be so "culture-driven" instead of led by the Spirit of God, so many are conformed to the world instead of being transformed by God's Word, the majority of people will not give this article a serious thought. BTW, I do know former football players who have gone on to live healthy, happy (really Christian) lives.

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Pamela Mathews

September 08, 2013  5:46pm

I do worry about injuries from football, which one of my boys plays; my other kids play/played soccer (yes, there are soccer injuries, but they tend not to be to the brain -- much more ankle/knee/leg related.) However, as a parent, my more pressing concern is how much time the boys spend watching college and professional football on television in the fall and early winter. As an example, this weekend, my husband and I actually had to review how much time they would have for homework and church activities once two games on TV were accounted for to make sure it all worked. Yes, in an ideal world we would "just say no", but hard to say no to the games; it is a huge part of their adolescent boy culture and many Christians certainly embrace it. Also of note is that many kids who are active now will be the "armchair quarterbacks" of the future as they stop playing team sports.

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Ed Mroz

September 08, 2013  10:03am

Serious injuries are not just common to football. Soccer was supposed to be a more safer sport, but using your head on a regular basis to hit a hard ball cannot be to good for what's inside. There are other sports like hockey with a lot of hard hitting and serious injuries also. Baseball also which I always thought of as gentle sport, could also profit by teaching its players something about anger management.Then I believe a lot of the fights you see more and more of in all sports are encouraged by the team owners to satisfy the crowds blood lust, modern gladiators! Anytime these time wasting fights would start on TV I would head to the fridge for some eats. Not good for the waistline. What I believe is needed rather than give up on contact sports are rule changes. Maybe less hard tackling and more touch, as in baseball? Also immediate game suspensions or worse for fighting. I believe team sports build character and social skills. The alternative a child alone on a computer.

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Steven Dowling

September 07, 2013  12:03pm

Saying that we need to rethink football completely because a small group of players have had medical issues is like saying we need to rethink the automobile completely because some get in car crashes.

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Steve Fraley

September 07, 2013  2:10am

I'm a football fan for a variety of reasons, but none of them are related to the violence (does ESPN need to always highlight the bone-crushing hits?). Unlike boxing, ultimate fighting, and Roman gladiator games, violence isn't the objective, but an issue that can be addressed. We shouldn't forbid children from playing out of fear that they might get hurt. The bigger problem for kids these days is inactivity (video games, smart phone addiction, etc.). Football is a reason to get outside, exercise, work with others (often people they otherwise wouldn't interact with) towards a common goal, and so forth. I realize that from a fan perspective, it can certainly be a distraction from other things, maybe even a false god. Yes, some fans are way too invested. But that can be said of just about anything, from American Idol to politics to caring for pets to... yes, even exercise. Anything that takes priority over our relationship with God is an idol. Show me a speck I'll show you a plank.

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Anne Acker

September 06, 2013  7:02pm

I can't help being amused by those who seem to think that an attack on football is an attack on masculinity. There are plenty of rugged things that men can do that don't glorify violence and create the physical risks that come with football. Yes, there is a risk of injuries with any sport, but one can surely have the common sense to avoid self-destruction without being thought a wimp. I've taught enough football players to know that they are at a clear academic disadvantage compared to other athletes. Some of them have trouble writing a coherent sentence. Most of them are respectful, likeable young men, and it is a pity it took so long for doctors to confront the damage this sport does to the human brain.

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Nancy Burns

September 06, 2013  6:53pm

Football should be changed to greatly reduce the incidence of head injuries or discontinued. There are too many head injuries that change the lives of players (usually young) for the rest of their lives.

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Sean Johnston

September 06, 2013  6:04pm

I am struggling to figure out why this is even a topic. There are far more meaningful things about which we should be concerned. We've always had sport. We've always violence in sports. What's next? Basketball. Boy, it gets pretty rough under the basket. I've used sports as one way to bring my family closer together. We love sports and have a good time pulling for our teams. Memories go way back and include several generations. We have simply got to stop focusing on things such as this, acting as if anyone who plays football is going to get a concussion. We are allowing the press once again bang the drums such that we now seemingly have a crisis on our hands.

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Erik Lewis

September 06, 2013  5:29pm

I find this article and some of these comments quite sad. Its almost embarrassing how much people have to say about football with such little knowledge of football. So here's a heads up: THE MAJORITY OF FOOTBALL PLAYERS DO NOT GET CONCUSSIONS AND DIE. There have been several steps taken by the NFL/NCAA and researchers alike to prevent head trauma. Just like any sport, there is a risk of injury. Just because the risk of injury goes up doesn't mean we need to throw it out altogether. And just like any sport, we need to celebrate how these athletes are worshiping our Creator with amazing athletic, creative, and intellectual ability that cannot be witnessed in other sports. There is God-honoring goodness in football. Let's work to redeem the areas that are broken. And can someone please define "violence"?

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Susan Gerard

September 06, 2013  3:59pm

I cannot watch football knowing all the harm it does to players, from high school on. The game should change. The same must be said about Boxing, considering what we know about CTE. As Christians, we should not support these blood sports that profit from brutality.

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Rick Dalbey

September 06, 2013  2:53pm

Dan, you're right. We devalue the arts and are frankly embarrased by them in the church. The first mention of anyone being filled with the Holy Spirit in the Bible were two artists, Bezalel and Oholiab (Ex. 35) who were filled with the Spirit to design the art of the first Tabernacle. Not only that, their work was abstract (the pomegranetes were painted blue). To walk into the tabernacle was sensory overload. All the walls were covered with life size painted and emroidered angels. Sculpture filled the room, huge golden angels, bulls holding up the laver. In Ezekiel’s temple the walls were all covered with paintings of angels and palm trees. Music went on in David’s tabernacle around the clock. David wrote poetry, danced before the Lord and composed music. In the church today, the arts are viewed as woman’s territory. Poetry, theater, painting, dance, song are all women’s stuff and us manly men have more important things to do. Like sit on the couch watching TV and root for the Giants.

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Dan from Georgia

September 06, 2013  2:12pm

Rick, I understand the aspect of sports and TV sports being a time-stealer. I know more than a few individuals who obsess over football (kind of a disease here in the south) to the point that that is ALL they do on the weekend is watch, not just football, but sports in general on TV. I still appreciate what you said about other pursuits being important, and unfortunately, missing, from out church experiences.

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Doug Dworak

September 06, 2013  1:54pm

Rick as with everything in life it's a matter of balance. There are many many things that occupy our time, energy and money as much or more than football or sports. Football can certainly do all the things you mention but when enjoyed rightly it can be fun, entertaining and even a great time with family. In our fallen world the enemy will always work to destroy what is good and turn it into something for which it was never intended to be. And man...there are a lot of other things just as time sucking, health robbing and relationship destroying as football. Again...balance!

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William Mitchell

September 06, 2013  1:49pm

Pro football players don't play for fun or for free. They play for money. No money, No play. They freely choose to suffer the consequences of brain and body damage, for money. Also football is a mans sport. It proves you are a real man. What are considered lesser activities don't feed that ego. .....It all starts at a young age and is extremely addicting for athletic young men. For as long as one is able to do it. After that we sue everyone for giving us all that money to make us play and kill ourselves.

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Rick Dalbey

September 06, 2013  1:37pm

Doug and Dan, I have no problem with watching a brutal sport. As a boy I used to enjoy watching the Monday night “fights” with my Grandfather on his black and white TV. And of course, individual self-defense was a critical skill growing up in Detroit during the depression as my Grandfather did (or me growing up in a tough part of California). We would also sometimes watch “Victory at Sea”, documenting the principled heroism of soldiers fighting in World War 2. And as someone said, Paul used boxing and foot-racing allusions occasionally in teaching. I don’t think anyone is talking about banning the NFL. But what I object too is the entire elaborate industry and lifestyle built around the fantasy world of televised football. It is a time-stealer, a health robber and relationship destroyer for the average man and fuels unhealthy obsessions. It is easy to be lost for hours or days engaging with televised fantasy and fan behavior while real life and family go on about you.

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Geoffery Bennett

September 06, 2013  1:33pm

Are most articles on this website more concerned about what they are against rather than what they are for? It's very disheartening. This movie is bad, don't see it. That sport is dangerous, don't participate in it. Watch out for this book, its has questionable material. And the list goes on and on. I'm more concerned with the positive. You want to change behaviors, offer people hope and encouragement in your articles not just want your against.

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Rick Dalbey

September 06, 2013  1:05pm

Guys, we are not talking about sports. We are talking about addictive TV watching. Men will sit for hours indoors on the couch in the middle of the afternoon no matter the beautiful weather being mesmerized by the television screen and stuffing their faces with unhealthy snacks. They will oragnize their social lives around football, organize their diets, preferring to eat in front of the TV, consuming high calorie foods like pizza. It encourages alcoholism as we crack beer after beer open. It is the male counterpart to being addicted to soap operas, only much worse. We say we like sports, but we don’t do sports. It is the opposite of doing sports. If we’d like as adults we can play in softball leagues, swim in masters tournaments, ski down a mountain, run, bicycle. But if we are football fans we are condemned to a lifetime of sitting and watching television. And this is encouraged in most churches. The Pastor yells go Ducks or Go Beavers and the congregation offers a hearty amen.

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Pablo Rodriquez

September 06, 2013  12:47pm

Yes, let's wring our hands about concussions while men play a game. This is oh-so-much-more-concerning than post-traumatic stress disorder that countless soldiers experience after seeing (and participating in) truly awful situations. This is much ado about relatively little. There are lots and lots and lots of ways we shorten our lives and minds for short-term pleasure. You really want to try to stop that? Talk about a nanny-state!

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