Are You Concerned About Safety and Concussions?
News stories regarding concussions in professional football have fueled debate about the safety of football from youth to the pros. On the positive side, it has changed rules and policies, improved equipment, increased awareness and education and increased research - making the game safer. On the negative side, these stories have fueled unreasonable fears and assumptions based on emotions - not on facts.
Here are the facts:
The NFL, as do other professional sports, involve the the world's strongest and fastest athletes and involve unique risk. More than 3 million kids play youth football, more than 1 million play high school football - there are only 2,000 players in the NFL.
News stories linking brain issues to football are specific to professional football - in particular the examination of 111 donated brains. 111 out of the tens of thousands that played professional football.
Research published by the Mayo Clinic determined that athletes that played football through high school did not have an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease overall or of the individual conditions of dementia, parkinsonism, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Research published in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) examined athletes that played football through high school indicates no harmful association between playing football through high school and increased cognitive impairment later in life.
All physical activities, including sports, carry the risk of injury - safety should always be taken seriously. For kids 14 years old and younger the risk of injury in football, including head injury, is comparable to or even lower than many other sports and activities such as cycling, soccer, baseball, basketball, etc.
Is youth football safe? It's about as safe as other sports and activities (see below). None of which are without risk.
Youth Football - Making a Safe Sport Safer
The Washington Junior Football League and its members make player safety our top priority. Our commitment to USA Football and the Heads Up program requires concussion awareness education for coaches, parents and players. It requires training and certification for all coaches that includes safe and proper tackling and blocking techniques, equipment fitting and more.
A Lot Has
Research determined that athletes that played football through high school did not have an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease overall or of the individual conditions of dementia, parkinsonism, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.