First step: Concussions can't be overlooked even on high school level

02/11/16 by Rennie Detore

Will Smith may have been left off the award list for the movie "Concussion," but the ramifications and just how much the movie resonated with the masses is already being felt.
The most recent is on a level that has nothing to do with lights, camera but the action and hard hitting still is there: say hello to the first high school football player that said "no" to football and cited the "Concussion" movie as reason why he's hanging up his cleats.
A high school senior in Mars (PA), John Castello, turned down offers to play college football and said the movie "Concussion" allowed him to arrive at this revelation that football isn't going to be his game going forward.

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The significance of the decision by Castello is hard not to take notice of: he's perhaps ushering in a trend of decision making as it relates to football and consciously bypassing the sport and its would be ill effects.
Plenty of NFL players, present and past, cite just how much the game of professional football has destroyed them for their post playing career lives. What they always fail to mention, however, is that they are the ones who chose to play a game that can be described as everything from "impactful" to "violent," with one high speed collision after another.
Granted, the argument that the NFL didn't have concussion protocol or show much care for their players 10 or 20 years ago is valid, but the notion that these players are victims is hard to swallow given the knowingness of just how the game takes years off your life. When someone slides a multi million dollar contract in front of you, the idea that you'll have some sort of post NFL playing ramifications goes out the window and is pushed to the background when someone in a tie hands you a pen.
On this level, the high school one, you have to think that as good of a basketball player Castello is, he left behind a scholarship that easily would have taken care of his entire ticket through school. The idea of being affected by concussions was more than enough to sway Castello off the football field.
Will more players find that same clarity when it comes to football and playing a game that is as hard hitting as it gets?
Most likely as more information about concussions comes to fruition, not so much the affects of them but players coming out from previous years talking about how head injuries have ruined their lives.
Does this mean no high school player is ever going to play football again? Obviously, that's not going to happen as long as the lure of the biggest and most popular sport looms large. What Castello did was set the stage for one element to finally find a voice: the one that allows you to make a decision predicated on more than prosperity.

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