Football concussion fallout extends to youth programs

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 4, 2012 - 11:32 PM

Local administrators are worried that the headlines surrounding the NFL over lawsuits, debilitating head injuries and even suicides are making parents reluctant to sign up their sons for football.

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minneg56Aug. 5, 12 6:24 AM

As in hockey, football collision style hitting needs to be discouraged and punished. These have always been rough sports. Football tackling USED TO BE an art. You'd seize and essentially 'wrestle' the ball carrier to the turf. Was it rough? Yep. Did kids get hurt? Yep. But it's now the collision hitting which seem to be encouraged and glorified both in fooball and in hockey- de-volution in both sports. Too much glorification on the Sports Center highlight reels. Unfortunately, it seems there's an inverse relationship between more equipment and equipment improvements which have evolved and respect among those who play as opponents in these games.

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gopyleAug. 5, 12 7:23 AM

There is way too much emphasis on expensive organized sports for young kids. For a few, these programs probably serve to develop the kids into future stars. That may happen anyway if they are that talented. For others, they get burned out on enthusiasm for the sport at an early age and some of these kids might have become good players as they grew and developed coordination, etc. The expense and pressure on parents to put their kids in these programs or risk having their kid not having opportunities later is another negative. If the emphasis were more on fun and sportsmanship, then it would be less objectionable, but I fear that is not always true.

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homerunkingAug. 5, 12 7:27 AM

Football for kids is safe and fun if they're properly fitted for their equipment and coaches dont get too Gung Ho. As a former youth football league director and coach I urge parents to make sure their league has a trained person fit helmets and equipment. Use a properly fitted mouthguard. And dont coach kids to bury their helmet in the chest of their opponent. I ask people..do you want your child colliding full speed wearing a helment and pads or a t-shirt and shorts? Easy answer.

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roymercerAug. 5, 12 7:44 AM

The sport as we know today is dying among youth. I can see it evolving into 7:7 passing in the next 5 years, which might be a god thing.

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heykoolaidAug. 5, 12 8:10 AM

Do the facilitators think that the headlines are scaring parents away, or is it the actual studies that have shown that football players have debilitating head injuries after playing the sport...

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spicebearAug. 5, 12 8:12 AM

As a 40-something with a crippled knee thanks to high school football, I am reluctant to encourage my sons to play the game... And I know several Dads my age who have made the same choice. I still want the kids in sports, but have encouraged less "major" injury prone sports.

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stoneageAug. 5, 12 8:39 AM

As a retired P&R commissioner I watched the sport and recreation scene change for 20 years. Communities grudgingly started changing baseball fields to soccer and football programs started dwindling. The new evidence of physical harm doesn't bode well for the sport, and even the NFL is going to have their hands full with the upcoming lawsuits of former members. The silver lining is that todays youth are taking up 'lifetime' sports that they can use to stay fit for many years after they leave high school.

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ironman1Aug. 5, 12 9:15 AM

My oldest son is an excellent athlete. When he said he wanted to play football in the 7th grade I made sure he was a receiver so that the chance of injury was a lot less. (The school is a running school.) 3 years later he is still an excellent athlete. 4.79 forty, 30 inch vertical leap,4.55 shuttle. He decided he wanted to focus on track and went to the junior olympics. Any regrets....nope. Right call.

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cessna_172Aug. 5, 12 9:35 AM

Want your child to be safe from concussions? Don’t have them play ANY sports. That is the only 100% fail-safe method. In my role as President of a local association that plays in the same league as Eden Prairie, we too have seen close to a 20% reduction in registrations. We polled as many parents as possible as to why they were not playing and by far, the #1 reason given was concussions. Yet these same parents would turn around and register their kids for basketball, hockey, and other sports. That is their right as a parent but one the face, it just doesn’t make sense. Any association can provide the best equipment, training, etc..but in the end it will not prevent concussions. There is no football helmet that is 100% safe from concussions. Check out the mfg’s websites; Schutt for example. You cannot proceed to the main site without acknowledging the fact that there is no helmet that is 100% safe. You can teach the proper techniques as well; this too is not 100% safe. A player can make a textbook tackle and if the runner hits his head on the turf/grass, guess what….They too may get a concussion. Our association did look at a ‘safety’ device (helmet cover of sorts) that was presented and decided not to pursue it. It just didn’t seem to provide any greater safety than what the helmet itself did. It have given some a false sense of security causing them to forget the training and general safety they already knew about. I know my opening statement may seem odd given my role, but it is true. Associations can provide the best equipment, training, and coaching and it may not be enough. We all need to make kids and coaches aware of the many factors and go from there. Best of luck to all this season !!

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grad_girl_1Aug. 5, 12 9:42 AM

It bothers me that schools that receive public funds and working so hard to "convince" reluctant parents to let their children play football. The threat of concussions, and the lingering health effects are real. Why not put public money at our schools into other sports programs, where concussions are not such a big issue? Track and field, tennis, swimming, anybody? In addition, all of those arguably provide more exercise than football.

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