Earnest Graham weighs in on “Concussion” movie

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – High school football packs stadiums, but one expert says teenagers are too young to play, and the sport is posing a serious danger to their health. It’s the same doctor who inspired the movie “Concussion,” which hits theaters Christmas Day.

Doctor Bennet Omalu wrote in a New York Times op-ed that the human brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 18-25. For that reason, he thinks football should be treated the same as alcohol and tobacco; with age restrictions on the sport.

“I don’t see something like that happening you know I really don’t see it,” said North Fort Myers High School Football coach and former NFL player, Earnest Graham. “As popular of the sport as it is, I do see people making the necessary adjustments to be able to protect our children.”

“I’ve read through everything and I think for most guys who have truly experienced it like I have, I think if you were given opportunity, you would still take the chance to develop as a young kid play the game and use it as a vehicle to make yourself productive in life,” Graham said.

This year, Lee Memorial Health Systems had trainers at most high school games to reduce injuries and prevent and recognize concussions.

Tony Votta has two young boys who play football. He says injuries can happen in any sport.

“Were aware of it,” he said, “we do everything we can to protect the kids with heads-up tackling. Football is a contacts sport and people know that going into it.”

One of Doctor Omalu’s longtime partners says he doesn’t agree with the takeaway on their research; he still thinks kids are safe playing football and that the greater risk is in the NFL.

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