For readers of What Made Maddy Run and Friday Night Lights.
Football remains a popular sport in the US and this topic will be relevant for years to come. There are more than 14,000 high schools and 700 colleges with football teams. Even as evidence about the lasting effects of head injuries in football continues to grow, more than 1 million boys and young men continue to play.
A new lens for viewing a vitally important issue: while other books have been very one-sided, directed at the NFL in particular, this book tells the human story and doesn’t take sides, but allows readers to draw their own conclusions.
Adds to the conversation about a vitally important issue: head trauma. Through the story of Dr. Ann McKee, who studied Owen’s brain, readers learn that even subconcussive hits can cause CTE.
“Mayk seamlessly integrates details of CTE into this moving story of a family who lost a son.”
“There have been other books about football and concussions but none quite like this. In Vicki Mayk’s hands, the tragic story of Owen Thomas is simultaneously a cautionary tale about playing the game and a love letter to a sport that means so much to so many young players. Deftly walking that fine line, Mayk produces a main character you won’t soon forget.”
—John Eisenberg, author of The League: How Rivals Created the NFL and Launched a Sports Empire
“The case of Owen Thomas will rock your world and break your heart. For critics of football, Growing Up on the Gridiron is a vital story to know and share widely. For lovers of football, you have a responsibility to read this book. We must put our heads in the sand no longer, because Owen’s story demonstrates to us all what is truly at stake.”
—Dave Zirin, sports editor, The Nation
“Vicki Mayk’s compelling book should be a wake-up call for all involved in youth football—coaches, parents, and players. Not a predictable diatribe, Growing Up on the Gridiron is beautifully written and nuanced yet completely frightening for those concerned about our children’s brains.”
—Mark Hyman, author of Until It Hurts: America’s Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids
“Eloquently written, Growing Up on the Gridiron is a journey inside the unbreakable bonds of football brotherhood and the brains of an extraordinary player. A must-read for every parent whose son is contemplating football and every school that puts young men on the field…The real touchdown is confronting gaps in how society can help boys become happier and healthier men.”
—Warren Farrell, PhD, author of The Boy Crisis
“During his brief, spectacular life, Owen Thomas was a devoted son and brother, a beloved and empathetic friend, and a brilliant, ferocious UPenn football captain. Writing with a brisk, fluent style, Mayk depicts his tragic demise in this deeply researched and poignant story with admirable candor and compassion.”
—J. Michael Lennon, author of Norman Mailer: A Double Life