We are excited to share one of our fave stories from espnW here on FitSugar! This week, espnW discusses the worry many moms face when their sons want to play football.
By Jemele Hill
It is impossible to comprehend what Devon Walker's parents must have felt when they saw their son laying motionless on the football field. Imagine their helplessness and fear. Making matters worse, they weren't at the game in Oklahoma, but watching from home in Louisiana when the Tulane senior safety's helmet crashed into his teammate's as they both angled to tackle Tulsa's Willie Carter.
Walker suffered a broken neck, and while doctors have said that he was "alert and responsive" after a three-hour surgery to stabilize his spine, his prognosis remains uncertain.
Finding a kindred sports spirit
But Walker's parents weren't the only ones who watched Devon's situation unfold with anxiety and hopelessness. Thousands of miles away, Holly Robinson Peete's heart was full of empathy for a player and family she didn't know. "It was so intense," said Peete, a Hollywood actress who is married to former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete. "It was again another reminder that we have to pay attention to these dangers."
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But for Peete and other mothers who either saw Walker's injury or heard about it, this incident was more than just a reminder about how dangerous football can be. It brought to surface an internal struggle that mothers everywhere are coping with. Should I let my son play football?
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When Kurt Warner said he would rather his sons didn't play football, he drew a firestorm of criticism from former players, including ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge, who called Warner's comments "irresponsible." Warner later backtracked on his comments, but for football to continue to thrive, whether former players allow their kids to play doesn't necessarily matter. The key to football's survival is mothers.
Thousands of eyes are watching closely every time a player is injured. Many of those eyes belong to women, to mothers like Peete who have a huge say in whether their sons are among the next crop of football talent. "Eighty-five to 90 percent of the moms in my circle that have sons are digging their heels in and saying, 'I'm not going to let them do it,'" Peete said.
Keep reading for more.