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Speak Out: Football and Brain Injuries

Grady High's spring football game is this week and as the world wonders about the possible link between football and long-term brain health, does that impact how you feel about kids playing the game?

Spring football drills culminate this week with the annual Grady Grey Knights Spring Football Game at the Eddie S. Henderson, Sr. Athletic Field at Grady Stadium.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday and admission is free. The concession stands will be open to provide food and refreshments.

Football has always been a violent sport, but it has been in the news even more so in recent weeks. There already has been plenty of discussion linking Junior Seau's suicide and the cumulative effects of violent collisions he sustained during his illustrious NFL career.

The former San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots linebacker died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest two weeks ago.

In our quest to know why a 43-year-old former football star would take his own life, we quickly latch on to what we've seen previously — a growing list of former players who've suffered depression, dementia and other neurological problems.

So what do you think? Does the possibility of concussions in youth and high school football concern you?

Last year, former Pro Bowl safety Dave Duerson died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest, leaving word that he wanted his brain used for research, which later determined he suffered from a neurological disease linked to concussions.

Last month, former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, who had led a concussion injury-related lawsuit against the NFL, committed suicide in his Richmond, Va., home at the age of 62.

Safety in America's favorite sport has never been a hotter issue than it is now, especially as thousands of high-school athletes around metro Atlanta hit the field for spring workouts in the next two weeks.

Coaches are trained well to monitor their players for concussions and other injuries, for sure. On its website, the Georgia High School Association has established protocols, offers a concussion course from the CDC, and links to a National Federation of High Schools information video – with links to the NFHS's own concussion in sports course.

But is that enough? Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner said this month that he would prefer his sons not play football.

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