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More custody disputes over whether a child should play football

Playing football puts athletes at risk of suffering from long-term brain damage. The more repeated concussions the football player suffers, the more likely he or she will suffer from such brain damage -- and the symptoms can be catastrophic. However, if the football player wants to play and put him or herself at risk in this regard, shouldn't it be his choice? The answer to this question is "yes," unless he or she is a minor. Then it's up to the parents to decide.

Recently, two Pennsylvania parents decided to go to court over such an issue because the mother and father disagree about whether or not they should permit their teenage son to play high school football. The mother of the boy says that it's her son's choice, and he fully understands the risks involved. The father says that the boy should not be allowed to play football because he has suffered repeated concussions in the past and he is at risk of having severe brain injury if he keeps playing.

Ten or 20 years ago, most people would have viewed the father as being "overprotective," but these days, there is scientific proof of the dangers involved in football. In fact, family law attorneys throughout the country are reporting an increase in disputes relating to parents who disagree over whether their children should play football.

The concerns from both sides of this debate are valid. When should a parent let their children decide, and when should a parent put his or her foot down over safety concerns? Also, what should one do when the parents disagree? It's certainly a difficult call to make, but it's a decision that a Pennsylvania family court judge will eventually decide if parents have to go to court. For that reason, parents in this kind of dispute will need to argue their cases carefully and appropriately by employing an in-depth understanding of all the legal issues involved.

Source: Boston.com, "A divorced couple is going to court over whether their son should be allowed to play football," Ken Belson, March 05, 2018

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