Posted November 15, 2013

Poll: 40 percent of Americans support ban on tackle football before high school

NFL
(Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)

Participation in youth contact football has declined 9.5 percent since 2010. (Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)

More than 40 percent of 1,003 American adults surveyed said they support a ban on youth contact football before high school, according to polling conducted by Robert Morris University.

The nationwide survey, which ran from Oct. 23 until Nov. 1, sampled proportional to state population.

While 40.5 percent of respondents said they support a ban on youth contact football, 48.4 percent were opposed to a ban and 11.1 percent said they were unsure. But an even greater percentage, 47.6, said they support a ban on youth contact football prior to middle school.

Of males surveyed who played contact football, 38.2 percent supported a ban prior to high school and 44.3 before middle school.

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“It’s encouraging that the general public finds the issue of children’s health in sports to be important,” said Samantha Monda, sports psychologist at Robert Morris University. “In order to reduce the incidence and severity of concussions, an attitude shift is necessary among those involved in youth sports. We need to continue to educate athletes, parents, coaches, and fans about the effects of concussions and raise awareness of best practices for prevention.”

This study comes after one by HBO Real Sports and Marist University that found one-third of Americans are less likely to let their son play football because of head injury risk, and after it was reported that youth football participation has dropped 9.5 percent since 2010.

“The research is rapidly evolving, but we know that brains are particularly vulnerable during childhood and adolescence,” Monda said. “Minimizing the exposure to contact, training coaches about concussion prevention and management, and teaching players to use proper technique and adhere to the rules are all strategies to help improve player safety.”

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17 comments
MiguelAAndradeJr
MiguelAAndradeJr

Yes, I understand the concern BUT having 1 boy currently playing youth football since the 4th grade, it has been nothing but positive. He has maintained healthy weight and it has forced him to stay on top of his grades. So why discourage that? Better than having him obese and in trouble. In addition, my oldest did youth football and it has helped him excel at the HS level. That's the sport they prefer and I believe we should support it.

patriot1burke
patriot1burke

Let me guess, the 40% voting yes were helicopter moms who abhore their sons playing any type of contact sport.

Whatever
Whatever

Wrong answer. Kids need to learn the proper way to tackle (and to take a hit) when they are younger and there is much less force being delivered. Waiting until they are high school age will exacerbate the problems.

Plus, there is more and more evidence that most concussions are not due to player-to-player contact, but player-to-ground contact. What happens is the player hits the ground, his head continues to move down and hit the ground, and the brain moves to impact the skull. The best solution to this is to strengthen the neck muscles so that kids can better support their heads and prevent as severe of an impact with the ground. Additionally, lighter but stronger helmets would help this as well; heavier helmets make it more difficult to control the head. Starting kids at a younger age will help them build neck muscles, plus coaches need to implement strengthening exercises to build up neck muscles.

jlnatc
jlnatc

While I support some sort of reduction in the amount of hitting early on, this survey is fairly inaccurate as it only polled slightly over 1000 people.  There is no way that this reports how the nation feels as a whole.  Conduct a better survey then I'll pay attention.

NFL_Madness
NFL_Madness

This is stupid.  40% "of Americans" want a ban.  Why wasn't I polled?  But still that means a majority (60%) DOESN'T WANT A BAN!!! Where I come from, majority means MOST. So MOST DON'T want a ban.  Why is that not the title?

I understand safety, but let the parents and the kids that want to play make that decision!  Why do other people have to decide for them?


Sham73
Sham73

So because you don't agree with it or don't want your child playing tackle football, that means no one else should either? This country is really going downhill. Poll should have asked if parents would let their kids play tackle football, not if there should be a ban on it. Ridiculous.

MMichaelen
MMichaelen

40% support a ban?  Wait, so 60% do not support a ban...Shouldn't that really be the headline?  Of course not. They are trying to sell advertising and it is more controversial to word it the way they did. All of my boys play of have played tackle. Only one loved it and is going into his forth year. The other two are playing non contact flag football. The worst injury any of them have gotten happened this last Tuesday night when my middle son sustained a concussion playing non contact flag football. This is youth sports...Soccer players are just as susceptible to CTE and in fact a recent study says they may be more at risk than tackle football players. Interestingly though, riding bicycles causes by far the greatest number of concussions among people under the age of 18. Not letting kids play until high school should be a parent's decision. Tackle isn't for everyone, but it is my son's heart and soul. There is simply no other game like it. Stop by my Concussion Page on Facebook "Concussion Dad" and learn more about why a concussion changed my life forever.

B I
B I

Eliminating tackle football in youth leagues will only worsen the problem.  Kids need to learn the fundamentals at an early age and practice them until they're ingrained.  If they don't learn them when young, they'll have to learn them when they're stronger and can cause more damage with bad technique.  Most concussions occur due to bad technique.  They should be focusing more on safe tackling techniques at a young age, not ignoring these techniques by just outlawing them altogether.  If this rule were to happen, I predict things worsen.... significantly...  

Josh Stewart
Josh Stewart

Why do we think that EVERYTHING in this country needs to be regulated? I'm so sick of these politically correct idiots trying to ruin everyone else's lives. If you are going to ban tackle football, you better ban bike riding, skateboarding, climbing on the monkeybars, and anything else that may cause injury. People need to get a grip, if you don't want to let your own kids play football, that is fine, but don't tell me how I should raise my kid. 

Mech
Mech

Ohh gawd ,,,,,, political correctness strikes again.  Lets ban them from being boys,,,make them all wear skirts.

Ryan60
Ryan60

This rubs me the wrong way....Not letting kids tackle before high school would be a mistake....So many fundamentals such as tackling and blocking are learned in the youth ages when the contact itself generally is not a strong enough impact for injury. Basically kids running into each other. The alternative is to let kids get into high school where they are more physically developed and then would not know the basics and fundamentals and would go nuts? I think i'd want my kid to learn how to play before going into highschool If you are afraid of the sport....don't play....There is always soccer!

Frank27
Frank27

my son, 8 years old, played tackle football this year even though i always said i wouldn't let him play, fearing injury. but I gave in, figuring that at this age, injury is much less common. I now regret it. he won't play anymore. you can teach (I was a coach) not using the helmet as a weapon all you want but it's just too natural to lead with the head. funny thing is, throughout my childhood, playing countless tackle football games, I was never hit in the head. reason? we were just kids playing in the neighborhood meaning we had no equipment. if you ask me, that's the solution.

PopeEggs
PopeEggs

Concussion rate is estimated to be 4% for youth football.  It's inherently a risk but even if it''s not organized, kids will still play tackle.  Hell, when I was that age we played full on tackle in shorts and a tshirt and nobody ever got anything more than a scrape or a bruise.  But then again, those under 14 are much smaller than high schoolers. Our star running back had 3 surgeries on 2 knees in high school and probably more after. So I definitely acknowledge risks, but I believe those risks to be low for those aged 6-14 and like anything, freak accidents are always possible.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Eliminate the three point stance on every level. It only increases the violence of collisions. There is no competitive reason NOT to eliminate the 3-pointer. None at all. And it would reduce the number of those violent collisions considerably.  

SlamaLama
SlamaLama

@PopeEggs It's just not the big hits and concussions that cause CTE. It's the sub concussions also. The human brain doesn't respond well to being knocked around, especially for children who's brains are even more susceptible than adults. 
Also CTE is not something that just happens in an instant like a broken leg, its a degrading process in the brain that robs you of your mental faculties overtime.

So I hear...