Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Review of "Lasting Impact"

Having read and enjoyed books by Kostya Kennedy on Pete Rose and Joe DiMaggio, I was looking forward to reading this one about a New York high school football team. Like the two baseball books, Kennedy wrote an outstanding book on football as well.  Here is my review of "Lasting Impact."

“Lasting Impact: One Team, One Season. What Happens When Our Sons Play Football” by Kostya Kennedy

Football (American), high school

Publish date:
September 6, 2016

272 pages

5 of 5 stars (outstanding)

The sport of football has been under the microscope for several months due to issues on many fronts: domestic violence incidents involving professional players, the overall culture of the game and the safety of the players’ long-term health due to the concerns about the number of concussions suffered.  All of those topics and more are explored in this excellent book on a high school football team by Kostya Kennedy.

The book takes the reader through the 2014 football season of New Rochelle High School, a New York City suburban school district. The area is a melting pot of all levels of affluence, of various races and various family dynamics.  The football program, led by coach Lou DiRienzo, is one of the more successful teams for many years.  The players are proud to be wearing the Huguenots jersey and many come back to visit.

One of these former players, Ray Rice, came back to visit during that 2014 season when he was the flashpoint of the issue of domestic violence in professional football. This section of the book was a good example of the main characteristic of this book that I thought made it an excellent read: it was fair, free of inflammatory talking points and explained the issue in a thorough manner.

Concerns about player safety and concussions are also explored from the point of view of coaches, players and parents. The culture of the game will make players not want to suggest that anything is wrong with them physically. There is concussion treatment protocol that all teams must follow, but it relies on player self-reporting, Because of this, according to a quote in the book, “There may be as many concussions that go unrecognized as go recognized on the football field.”  But as to WHY this is the case – the culture of the game – is explained quite well through the book.

Kennedy does address the question most often posed to parents – would he let his son play football?  By following the season of a successful high school football team, he explains his position in a manner that will make any person think about his or her perspective of the sport.  This is done not only in the last chapter when he addresses the question directly, but in each previous chapter when Kennedy captures the spirit, the drive and the passion these young men have for the game of football and the school.  No matter the level of interest one has in the sport, this is a fascinating book on the game and the young men who play it. 

I wish to thank Sports Illustrated for providing a copy of the book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Format Read:
E-book (Kindle)

Buying links:

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