Betsy Ross: The future of football - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Betsy Ross: The future of football

FOX19 -

When Wes Welker entered the Rams game against the Bengals a couple of weeks ago, was I the only one who cringed?

Welker, you remember, has missed significant playing time over the last few seasons as he suffered from concussions with New England, the Broncos and now St. Louis.

He has carved out a nice, decade-long career in the NFL, most of it as Tom Brady's most reliable receiver across the middle. But those routes came with a cost.

Welker was exhibit A for the new NFL concussion protocol after he suffered at least six media-documented concussions in his 12-year career, including three in a span of nine months and two in a period of three weeks. Still, he told reporters when he signed with the Rams last month that he had been cleared by doctors to return.

This comes after Monday's op-Ed piece in the New York Times written by Bennet Omalu that called for a ban on youth football because of the danger of head injuries. Omalu is the researcher who first linked concussions to CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. He's also the central character in the upcoming movie, "Concussion," that chronicles his research.

Former NFL and college quarterback Danny Kanell called the article a "war on football" that could kill the game if kids aren't allowed to play. And to that point, not teaching kids the right way to play football from the beginning may be more dangerous in the long run.

Look, I love football as much as the next person and cheer when the Bengals put a hard hit on an opponent. But when you see someone like Welker back on the field, endangering his health and his future playing on a struggling team, you wonder how many more hard hits his head can take. And what price he may pay down the road.

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