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Parents conflicted over football concussion risk

Deb Henschel knew something was wrong with her 8-year-old son, but she was bewildered by his symptoms.

In addition to feeling out of sorts, the boy was constantly tired. He was sensitive to light and had problems thinking and speaking clearly.

Henschel’s recollections of her son’s concussions were stirred last week with the airing on PBS of “League of Denial,” a Frontline documentary that took a critical look at the NFL’s handling and response to concussions over the years. The documentary included a feature on youth football leagues and the potentially disastrous risks to children who play the sport.

“It is something that’s happening, and we’re starting to realize the long-term effects it can have,” Henschel said.

She stressed that she doesn’t blame the Pop Warner league — which has strict policies to deal swiftly with suspected or confirmed concussions — for what happened to her son. The concussions ended his season that fall, and he returned to normal in about a month after the symptoms lifted..

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