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Recently I was angry/disappointed when I read a column in the paper," No fear for Dion after health scare" by a local sports columnist.

A young University of Western Ontario football player who had recently lost one of his kidneys who loved the game has decided to return to play another year. The columnist described the four to five years of pain that proceeded the life saving kidney surgery.

The final paragraph: "Dion could have packed it in and felt sorry for himself. Instead he plays ball the way I am used to. Without fear without hesitation and without worry about what the next tackle will bring."

I wrote the columnist: I hoped that you had more ethics then you showed in your column to-day. By encouraging a young football player to risk his only kidney you are complicit to have him having to go on kidney dialysis for the rest of his life. Take a moment to peruse my column "Elite Athletes pay the price" about Chris Borland a NFL football player where I applauded him and his father for their guts to leave the game of football to maintain their health.

I wager that if and when Dion is injured that you will not be able to take him to his medical appointments. Like it or not you are a role model for many athletes and you disappoint.

The columnist reply: "I encouraged no one. I told a story. His doctors told him he could play. I am not his doctor. His coaches allowed him to play. I am not his coach. He made the decision to play. Your rather high handed comment in questioning my ethics was uncalled for. We pointed out in the story the results of playing with one kidney. I am not everyone’s conscious. He obviously wants to do what he loves regardless of the risk. Some people enjoy living that way."

As a counselor writer I feel it is my duty to express my opinion to advise young people and their parents of the consequences of their actions. Often times the mind tends to forget our bad choices that we make but the body tends to remember with vengeance later on life.

Football is not just a fun filled game. It can turn into a medical nightmare when the player is critically injured during or after his playing days are over. For an athlete to risk losing his primary kidney to face dialysis and possible death can be reality that athletes should not take. As a former teacher we were obliged to always act as caring parental parent always in the best interest of our students. Perhaps sports columnists are exempt " to not being everyone’s conscience."

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com