by Deirdre Wilson
Nine out of 10 dads who suffered – or believe they suffered – a concussion while playing football in high school or college want their kids to play tackle football, a new survey reveals. The findings come despite efforts by Massachusetts and other states nationwide to impose stricter youth sports regulations to help prevent and recognize concussions and other head injuries among young athletes.
The survey by the youth sports franchise i9 Sports, which has 275 locations nationwide, also found that 77 percent of all football-playing dads believe tackle football is safe for kids under age 12, even while more than 3 in 5 of these fathers suffered a concussion playing football.
Almost half of the football-player dads surveyed say there’s too much hype over concussions. And more than half say kids who play tackle football sometimes think getting a concussion is “cool”, or “a status symbol” that means you play “tough and hard.”
About 61 percent of the fathers surveyed say their son's mother agrees with them that tackle football is safe for young athletes.
The survey questioned 300 dads who played tackle football at the high school level or higher.
Among the other findings:
• More than 1 in 3 their son’s competitive youth sports coach (in any sport) is more interested in a win over safe play. In fact, 31 percent say their kids’ coaches understand concussion dangers but don’t take precautions.
• Almost 1 in 5 football say that despite concussion awareness, there have been no noticeable changes to the policies and procedures of youth sports.
“The startling results of this survey show even though concussion awareness is permeating youth sports today, often parents, young players and even coaches don’t heed the warnings,” i9 Sports President and COO Brian Sanders says in a statement about the survey. “It’s scary to us that dads who suffered concussions encourage their young sons to play tackle football at a young age. Studies show a concussion can be more dangerous for young athletes because their brains are still developing. Still these young athletes perceive concussions as a ‘cool status symbol.’”
Deirdre Wilson is Senior Editor for the Boston Parents Paper.