Fall—it’s my favorite time of year. With Fall, you get the best of Cincinnati and its offerings. Great temperatures, beer festivals, fall foliage and, of course, football. Speaking of football, we are excited in this issue to share Peter Bronson’s local take on the concussion discussion, which includes an exclusive interview with Mike Brown. Our Art Director Guy Kelly was even able to get access behind the scenes with the Bengals to view their assessment tools. We also check in with the University of Cincinnati football program and their concussion procedures, and we get an update from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital on recognizing concussions ourselves.

We thought concussions were worth focusing on, as did Peter, due to the “climate change” happening at dinner tables across the country as parents, and especially dads, wrestle with this and its impact upon their children. I do think this hits home more personally for dads, as those that played have some questioning to do on their own.

Ironically, it’s this story on concussions that takes me down memory lane. Parents do have a responsibility to gauge the benefits and risks of any activity their children participate in. Assessing this has allowed me to not only think through the options for our children, but to assess how my inherent interest and passion in football was created. 

My father did not play football and my parents afforded me the decision to play. The memory is vivid; a call from the football coach and soon-to-be family friend and mentor asking if I wanted to play, the personal evaluation of quitting another fall sport, oh the agony!

While growing up, football was, you could say, my life. In high school, once the leaves changed—regardless if it were 90 degrees outside—the letter jacket broke out. Football was the reason I had access to and then was selected for a full college scholarship. The day football ended was a “sea change” moment. For me, life away from football was more than a new chapter; it was a whole new book.

Once I was able to get my bearings post football, life opened many unexpected doors. The friendships that I formed in college—ones I would not have had the time to develop when I had less time to myself—flourished and continue to do so to this day. Now, we all participate in a fantasy football league, and my guess is that I am in it, like many, because of both the escape and the steady onslaught of crude locker room banter that we miss in our adult lives that was ever-present when we created these friendships in our youth.

Pursuit, accomplishment, and pride. These terms all come to mind for childhood sports, resonating deeply when the choices are thankfully available, and made in part by our children themselves. It’s of real consequence that here in Cincinnati we all are a part of this concussion discussion and the effort seeking solutions.

Respectfully,

Eric Harmon, Publisher