Here in our small Oklahoma town, we have three or four high school boys currently on crutches. Football injuries. When they are my age, will old injuries haunt them?

A recent study> strongly suggests that former NFL players have a much higher risk for dementia than the general male population because of more blows to the head.

So, once again I am thinking over my relationship to football. Can I in good conscience, as a Christian, be a fan of the sport? I here put one of my previous posts on instant replay.

I want to pose a question that many will regard as heretical, especially south of the Mason-Dixon line, and that may render me unable to return to Texas. Question: Can a Christian remain faithful and participate in or watch football?

I know that lots of players and coaches at all levels are outspoken Christians. I know that many football games in the south are opened with prayer regardless of the courts. But the question is not Do Christians participate in and watch football, but rather can we do this and be consistent in the Faith?

Raised in Missouri, I grew up a Chiefs fan and a University of Missouri fanatic. On Saturdays I lived and died with MU and on Sundays I rooted for Len Dawson and company as though the fate of the world hung in the balance (and hated the Raiders as if they were the forces of the antichrist). In elementary school we played football at recess (tackle if we could get away with it, touch if the teacher on duty was paying attention). I was not and am not particularly athletic, but enjoyed playing football when I got to Jr. High and on for a while.

So, what causes me to ask this question?

Injuries. Especially the life-long pain most veterans deal with. Rick Reilly reminded me of this fact in his essay for the Nov 13 Sports Illustrated. In the context of talking about Tiki Barber Reilly told story after story of seeing NFL former greats hobbling stiffly through life, enabled to go on only by pain pills--Butkus, Otto, Deirdorf, and others. Essay here, subscription required. The harsh truth is that playing pro football will damage your body such that you will live with pain and impaired ability for the rest of your life. Some research results here.

You are a Christian, and someone comes up to you and offers to entertain you for money by jumping from a one-story building to the ground, again and again and again. Do you pay him the money to watch him abuse his body? Or, do you decline, and tell him that his body is entrusted to him by God to be used wisely?