I love college football and I’m eager for the 2019 season to kick off for my alma mater in three weeks. But as much as I enjoy Alabama football, I would strongly encourage a child not to play the sport. If I’m fortunate enough to have a son, I hope to steer him in the direction of something safer. We’ve known for years that serious injuries are common in football, but the evidence is piling up that the sport does long-term brain damage, even for those who never had obvious injuries. Evidence of brain damage called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has been found in 99 percent of the former NFL players whose brains have been studied after their deaths. And now a new study shows that playing even one season of college football causes hidden long-term brain damage, even in players who never suffered from a concussion. I still love the game, but I can no longer doubt that it’s too risky for people I care about.
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