I know what you’re thinking, Mom. There have been some terrible accidents on sports fields in the Oak Park and River Forest area, and that’s why you don’t want me playing a contact sport anymore. But I’ve been doing some research. Actually, I’ve been using the techno-color Mac you bought me to Google things pertinent to this topic. Yes, I pried myself away from the “Everwood” chat rooms long enough to focus on something other than 50 Cent’s bodacious new album (and I’ll have you know I’m rocking out to Green Day’s American Idiot right now on my iPod. “Jesus Of Suburbia” rocks!).

I stayed up all night thanks to three Red Bulls, two Monsters and a Full Throttle?#34;FYI, you know that housecleaning you were dreading? Well, it’s been taken care of. Just don’t look under the couch. Also, tell Dad I rotated the tires on the minivan and the dog’s doo-doos are now in the neighbor’s yard.

Anyhoo, I’m giving you this information in the hopes that you will reconsider the recent ban on contact sports you handed down to me in the wake of a local lacrosse player’s unfortunate throat injury.

Approximately 7 million high school students participate in sports each year in the United States. Quite a large number when you compare it to how many active baseball players there are in the majors right now?#34;750 or so (get well Nomar, give a shoutout to Mia from me!) Accidents are bound to creep up. The most common injury I’ll have you know is contusions or bruises, according to the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. And they rarely cause an athlete to be sidelined. In fact, the academy found that fractures constitute only 5 to 6 percent of all high school sports injuries, and most of these breaks occur in the arms and legs, rarely in the spine or skull. The National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA) found that 73 percent of high school athletic injuries restricted players fewer than eight days. That’s less time than it takes me to get out of bed in the morning!

NATA also found that the largest proportion of fractures came from baseball (8.8 percent), basketball (8.6 percent), soccer (8.5 percent) and softball (8.4 percent), none of which are considered contact sports.

I know what you’ve said Mom, trust me you’ve mentioned it enough times it’s now branded in my mind like an iTunes commercial. “It takes just one accident and you can wind up in the hospital. I’m not risking it with these sports.”

Yes, but there are things you should know that may be a little unsettling. Accidents can happen anywhere. Look what happened to OPRF baseball player Eric Lisle. He had worked his jockstrap off prepping for the upcoming baseball season and when he took a break to go skiing in Colorado a terrible accident on the slopes caused him to miss his final year of high school eligibility.

What? Don’t say jockstrap? It was just an expression. It’s not a bad word. It’s athletic protective gear for males. My point is, Mom, it’s not going to do anyone any good keeping me from playing a contact sport. Would you rather I sit around munching on Ho Hos and RingDings, while playing Grand Theft Auto on my Playstation? I could choke on a RingDing, or worse, decide to highjack a sports utility vehicle with an AK-47.

I’m not trying to scare you Mom, but take me off the field where I’m happy and enjoying myself and I may end up thumbing through Guns & Ammo while waiting to get a tattoo of a skull and crossbones.

It’s not a threat. It’s not blackmail. I love you Mom, and I want to continue to play sports.

What’s that? I make you so proud? Give you a hug and kiss? Mom jeez, you’re embarrassing me.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...