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Why parents should absolutely know the risks of their kids' playing football.

Two doctors think we need to put an end to high school football, but maybe there's another way.

Each Friday night in the fall, high school students take the field in a quintessentially American tradition: football.

Families around the country file into bleachers at their local high school campuses, ready to take in the action. Might they be watching a future NFL superstar? Will they be able to look back on the game one day and say, "Oh him? I saw him play back when he was in high school"?

It's a tradition that brings whole communities together.


Two Louisville, Kentucky, schools take the field. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images.

But not everyone is so sold on the benefits of high school football.

Two Minnesota doctors are calling on schools to drop their football programs out of concern for student safety.

Doctors Steven Miles and Shailendra Prasad penned an editorial for the January 2016 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics, titled "Medical Ethics and School Football." In it, they argue that while putting an end to youth football programs is unrealistic, the current set up of school football is unethical in that students and parents aren't fully aware of the risks involved, such as concussion.

Marysville-Pilchuck High School football players gather during a game against Meadowdale High School. Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images.

Between 5 and 20% of high school players will have at least one concussion over the course of a season.

Not only that, but after someone has a concussion, the risk of additional concussions increases. But what's the big deal? Well...

"A concussion increases the risk of a later catastrophic brain or neck injury that may result in paralysis or death," write Miles and Prasad. "Studies show that football concussions are highly likely to cause headaches and difficulty concentrating or performing schoolwork for a week, several weeks or even longer."

In 2015 alone, seven high school football players around the country have died as the result of on-field injuries.

The Shoreham Wading River High School team gets ready for its first game after teammate Tom Cutinella died on the field. Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images.

Not only are the odds of making it in the pro leagues remote, but risk of serious injury only gets worse.

The odds of going pro are slim, with just 0.08% of high school varsity football players going on to play professionally. Even then, the average career is only 3.3 years.

Concern about the long-term effects of sustaining multiple concussions has been mounting for years now, and even some who make it to the NFL have some major doubts. For example, Chris Borland, who signed a four-year, almost $3 million, contract in 2014, retired from the league after just one season, giving up millions of dollars in the process.

And just last week, St. Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum took a nasty hit, leaving him concussed. Despite what seemed obvious to those of us watching from home, neither coaches nor refs believed Keenum needed to be pulled from the game following this hit. He stayed in for two more plays.


GIFs from NFL/CBS Miami.

But is banning football really the most practical solution?

While Miles and Prasad's proposed ban would surely reduce the risk of football-related injuries, it's a solution that's unlikely to stick. It's a well-intentioned, idealistic plan, albeit one based on the very real concerns and risks involved with playing a high-contact sport. And maybe their proposal will pass. Anything is possible.

But in the meantime, and just in case it doesn't, there's no reason we shouldn't be doing the next best thing for football players: Parents, coaches, players, yes, even those of us in the bleachers, need to be informed about the risks that go along with playing football, and we need to understand the symptoms of concussions.

Wearing protective gear like helmets isn't enough in itself to keep a player safe from injury, but making sure they're wearing it correctly can help reduce the risk of serious injury. Chin straps, mouth guards, and other protective measures should be taken.

If you know the risk of injury and you're wearing protective gear, what's left is for players, parents, and coaches to keep a keen eye out for concussion symptoms — which aren't always immediately apparent. Symptoms include headache, confusion, amnesia, nausea, delayed response, and ringing in the ears, among others.

Mayo Clinic has a quick rundown of how to know if you have a concussion and what to do in the event that you do to avoid long-lasting or even permanent damage (hint: don't go back into the game that day).

Have fun, but be safe!

South Plaquemines High School football players look on with concern as a player is treated for an injury during a football game against Belle Chase High School. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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