Dr. Julian Bailes: The Pros of Contact Sports

Well I do in fact have 3 sons, and if they want to play contact sports, including football, they're allowed to play. I played 10 years myself. I have a career that I always say when I return home none of my family or friends can remember with any specificity, but I think it's important. I think sports teach so many important aspects to life. They teach teamwork, competition, winning and losing, sacrifice, the value of a team greater than the individual, and the thrill of victory is something that's hard to get over. If particularly a teenage athlete, and particularly a male, is not playing football, they are not--or another contact sport-- they are not necessarily going to be doing just risk-aversive behavior. They are going to doing like I did when I grew up in Louisiana, drag racing cars or water skiing at night or jumping off bridges, things of that sort. So I think you have--I encourage parents we have to consider the entire spectrum. But if someone has 3 or more concussions, particularly depending on a lot issues, but the amateur athlete with that many concussions, then you may begin to consider that they become career ending.

An expert on sports-related TBI, Bailes encourages kids to play contact sports for a spectrum of reasons — from being part of a team to learning lessons on winning and losing — but not if the kid has had three or more concussions.

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Julian Bailes

Julian Bailes, MD is a founding member of the Brain Injury Research Institute and professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, West Virginia University School of Medicine. He is a recognized leader in the field of neurosurgery and the impact of brain injury on cognitive function.

Posted on BrainLine April 13, 2012.

Produced by Noel Gunther, Brian King, and Michael Yoswa, BrainLine.