THE issue of football and the effect of heavy head knocks associated with the game have come under the spotlight recently.
There is a school of thought that believes that repeated knocks to the head over the course of a football career could cause long term effects to the brain long after the battle on the field is over.
The Age ran a front page story a fortnight ago looking into the merits of making helmets compulsory in junior football.
Locally, the Koroit Junior Football Netball Club has a policy that requires all its under 12 players to wear a helmet when they play with the club providing the helmet.
The policy has been in place for a number of years, but very few players continue to wear the helmets past their compulsory under 12 days.
I believe helmets should be compulsory and I will clarify this statement by saying that I played my career as a run-of-the-mill country footballer wearing a helmet and each of my three sons wear helmets when they play junior football.
My decision to wear a helmet came after I suffered three concussions in five weeks. The last concussion required five stitches to the head, and that evening I vomited and had severe headaches .
I visited the doctor who ordered a CAT scan to find out if anything sinister was happening.
The doctor told me I should wear a helmet.
I did not hesitate to take his advice given I was reaching the age where I was fast realising that footy was good fun but it wasn't the be-all-and-end all I had once thought it was.
I believe helmets should be compulsory for all junior grades.
Some AFL footballers don't know how to use their bodies to protect themselves in a contest, so how do we expect young kids to be able to do it right every time?
They are going to make mistakes and it is usually the head, neck and back that are impacted when these mistakes are made.
Some people believe helmets provide no extra protection, and perhaps in some cases they don't, but surely they can't do any harm . People say they are too hot to wear, but when does the temperature climb to anything above 15 degrees during the season?
Football is a great sport and a wonderful part of our community, providing a healthy and social outlet during the colder months.
But what is wrong with making it a little safer for the kids?
Senior players can make their own decision but sometimes as adults we need to lead and make decisions that may not be popular but that are for the greater good of the next generation.