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N.H. school board member calls for entire town to cancel football programs

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Across the nation, football officials at all levels continue to express concern about head injuries and long-term injuries brought on by concussions and other head trauma. While much of the national media focus has understandably centered around the NFL and major college football, the impact of ever-increasing head injuries may be even more significant for young football players, who could deal with long-term health effects brought on by football collisions.

Still, what one New Hampshire school board member is proposing takes concern about head injuries to an entirely new level. As reported by Fox Boston, a member of the Dover, N.H, School Board raised the possibility of canceling the town's high school and middle school football programs on the basis of "morals and ethics" following the town's joint concussion study conducted with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital.

The official in question is Paul Butler, a retired physician who sits on the Dover School Board. At the group's Oct. 1 school board meeting, he raised his belief that football should not be played in the town. Butler used a legion of data aimed at showing a direct correlation between football-related concussions and long-term mental health issues.

He also brought up just how common it is for young athletes to continue leading with their head when tackling, even after they've been corrected.

While Dover has already instituted some of the strictest concussion recovery standards in New Hampshire, that hasn't proven sufficient for Butler, who claims the only way to truly keep the town's children safe is by getting rid of traditional football altogether.

As one might expect, Butler's comments sent the rest of the Dover board into damage control mode, with the school board chair releasing an official statement proclaiming that the district was not actively considering getting rid of football, nor did it plan on considering it as part of the agenda for a future meeting. Meanwhile, Butler reportedly told Fox Boston that he planned to lodge the issue on the school board meeting agenda in November.

Still, Butler has fired the first shot in the war against youth football, and he certainly has both the time and data to put together a powerful case against the sport. Whether he decides to push his concerns even more aggressively in the future remains to be seen, but he's already shaken up New England simply by raising the possibility that America's favorite sport may not have a place in area schools in the future.

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