School Board Member Paul Butler Talks About Ending Football
When Paul Butler called it a moral imperative for fellow members of the Dover, N.H., school board to at least consider discontinuing football in light of mounting research on long-term brain injuries, he did so during a meeting largely attended by empty chairs. He wasn't even expecting the local newspaper to report on his presentation, delivered Oct. 1 without notes and without discussion — much less ABC News, NPR and The New York Times to run with the story. The next school board meeting, on Nov. 5, drew a bigger crowd, including a pediatrician friend with a contrary opinion, Dover High School's athletic director and athletic trainer, and a football mom endorsing the safety afforded by her son's helmet, which she had brought with her. Butler, a 68-year-old retired general surgeon who treated patients in Dover for 34 years, had to beg his own father to let him play high school football, played football and hockey at Amherst College, and loves both sports to this day. He is no fan of the limelight, but has taken every opportunity to share his message, doing so recently with Paul Steinbach.
Q: What do you make of recent calls to prohibit contact football until age 14, based in part on participants' neck strength?
Q: Were you ever concussed?
Q: Do you wish that someone on the school board at your alma mater, Wakefield High School, had addressed such risks back then?
Q: The school board meets again Dec. 10. What's next?
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