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Head Trauma

October 1, 2015

Two sets of high school students engage in activity that arguably may cause head trauma: playing football and smoking weed.

There are about 16,000,000 kids in US high schools. According to the InterWebNets over 6% smoke dope everyday. Every day, about 1,000,000 kids get high, or probably, maintain a softened, deadened state of not caring.

There are also, oddly enough, about 1,000,000 kids that are on high school football teams. They practice 5 days a week, usually 3 days with contact, and about 1/4 of that number play in games for a 6th day, 4 months a year.

As a culture the US is inextricably legalizing marijuana, and, simultaneously there seems to be the discovery that contact sports are dangerous, so some schools are ending football programs as parents become turned off to the sport’s dangers.

Clearly many concussions, or simply head traumas damage the brain. Equally sure is that the daily use of marijuana completely rewires parts of the brain to be permanently compromised.

Yet football is portrayed as outrageous and should be outlawed and marijuana benign enough to be legalized.

I have known perhaps 500 people that have played football. A few admit that they think football did affect their mental abilities. I have also known 100’s of weed enthusiasts and virtually every one of them asserts that you think differently when you get high every day.

Several parents I know have kids who are getting high every day. They feel powerless to inhibit their kids: part of that is our cultural slide into tolerance for weed. I know other parents who have stopped their sons from playing football or discouraged it.

We parents want our children to be perfectly safe. That is simply not possible. But we also have part of our minds locked into cultural appraisals of right and wrong.

Football is sliding into the “wrong” side, and marijuana is sliding into the “not illegal” side. Despite any number of studies football is not a gateway sport to violence, though those who play play better when they play violently.

Despite all apologists those who smoke weed every day are almost guaranteed to go onto more dangerous experimentation. Football ends for all but the freakishly talented in the early ’20’s. Dope can be forever.

Perception is 9/10 of fact for many people: the sad, tragic face of a football player’s suicide, probably facilitated by head trauma is a terrible outcome. But millions upon millions of humans starting a pattern of daily marijuana use in high school, or earlier, is slow motion tragedy: as lives become limp, hope is for the next hit and relationships are keyed to an altered mental state.

For many its “just pot”, but no one says its “just football”.

Head trauma is head trauma. Football will not soon be outlawed, but marijuana will soon be legal.

On the whole freedom is better that perfect safety, to me anyway. But, on the whole, pretending that one danger is OK because it seems softly benign, and another is not OK because its loud and obviously dangerous is simply shallow and convenient thinking.

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