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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Youth sports can lead to child custody matchups

Many parents that choose to separate will find themselves faced with the task of determining the most effective plan to co-parent their children. The same can be said for parents that never married or shared a home. Issues like visitation schedule, education, child custody arrangements and location are common points of contention.  

Sometimes, parents in this situation may find themselves faced with issues they did not anticipate to be a point of contention. Recently, the issue of brain injuries suffered by football players has made it's way to family court. Texas is historically home to a love of youth sports, specifically tackle football. 

One man, a 66-year-old father that played youth football himself, has gone to family court to prevent his youngest son from continuing to participate in the contact sport. The child started youth football at an early age, and both mother and father were supportive fans. Unfortunately, the boy would later suffer three confirmed concussions, two of which were a direct result of football injuries.

The father soon found himself at odds with both the child's mother and the doctor that treated his son, because both allowed the child to continue to play football after the injuries were suffered. Faced with research that indicates childhood concussions can lead to mental, physical and behavioral difficulties later in life, he felt it was in the best interest of the child to discontinue his participation in the sport. He has indicated that he feels further risk to the child would be damaging in both short and long-term scenarios, and has requested a custody arrangement that no longer allows his son to play contact football.  

The child's mother, on the other hand, disagrees. While she acknowledges that serious injuries are indeed a risk for any contact sport, she feels that doctors, coaches and other trained professionals are qualified to assess the injuries. She maintains that the child himself is old enough to decide if he would like to continue playing football, and that the child may have much to gain by sticking with his chosen sport. No matter the outcome, Texas parents who find themselves with opposing views on child custody issues may find that they benefit from a family law attorney to help achieve a best interest scenario for the child in question. 

Source: The New York Times, "Football's Brain Injury Crisis Lands in Family Court", Ken Belson, March 5, 2018

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