Earlier this fall, I wrote about the concerns about the spread of infectious diseases in sports as outlined in an American Academy of Pediatrics report. To be honest, I’m not too worried about this since good hygiene can usually address the issue. However, the frequency of serious traumatic injuries especially in high school football combined with the increasingly scary reports on post-concussive brain injury — chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — in football players after they retire is changing my opinion on contact sports in children or even adults. Last week, researchers at Boston University revealed Aaron Hernandez suffered the most severe case of CTE ever discovered in a person his age, damage that would have significantly affected his decision-making, judgment, and cognition. About a million high school boys play organized football in the United States. Another 500,000 or so play other almost equally violent sports including lacrosse, hockey, wrestling, and soccer. I played football from August to November for eight years through middle school, high school, and college. I wasn’t great, but started every game for eight years. I wonder now would my teenage self—if he knew all the problems above—decide to play football? The answer is complex. I had gotten into sports since I had some athletic skill and it helped me feel more socially accepted. I was mostly considered a nerd for doing well in school at the time. I broke my hand in ninth grade and did not tell anyone for the whole season so I could continue to play. I got my “my bell rung” (probably mild concussions) at least five times. As long as I could tell two fingers from three fingers, I was put right back into the game. I was as mediocre at wrestling, but enjoyed it and worked hard enough to get into the state tournament my senior year. Fast forward and I have mild chronic pain and a missing knuckle on my right hand probably from ignoring that broken hand in high school. I developed traumatic arthritis of my cervical spine and needed neck surgery in my late 30s probably because of repetitive trauma from those two sports. My leg joints are very stiff mainly because I’m 67, but probably also from