Dr. Julian Bailes: The Pros of Contact Sports

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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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.
Posted on BrainLine April 13, 2012.

About the author: Julian Bailes, MD

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.

Julian Bailes

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