I had a discussion earlier this week with a parent named Danielle, on the fence, uncertain if playing youth football was something she wanted her son to continue with. With how the media has covered the head injuries in youth football topic this off-season along with the rising fees to play youth football, I understood her concerns.
We talked. This parent had injury risk as a primary concern. Her desire was to have her child play flag football over tackle football but this was quickly vetoed by her husband- ‘it is tackle or nothing’. Danielle talked in detail about the Va Tech study done by Stephan Duma, it was fresh in her mind. Luckily Pop Warner has made big strides by limiting the amount of hits in practice. This means the chances of a head occurring are dynamically lowered. YFO applauds the announcement by Pop Warner.
We then discussed the rising costs of playing the sport. She started counting the different expenses that she was being asked to pay:
1. Registration fee.
2. Late registration fee.
3. Volunteer fee (should she not volunteer, the organization would keep $100).
4. Youth football equipment (including cost of replacement mouthpieces).
A grand total of $500! I calmly thought this through. The facts are- the costs for registering a child to play youth football are high and are likely to go up. Parents and organizations must come up with creative ways to fundraise to bring these costs to a minimum. You can get your child to play youth football for close to free, just have to put in the work.
I asked her to keep the benefits of playing the game of youth football in mind. Her son will learn discipline, respect for elders, teamwork, physical fitness and much more comes from playing the game. I ended our discussion by reminding her that youth football promotes family time, something she appeared to be very big on. Read more about the benefits of playing the game at the Youth Football Online movement page.
Tell us your thoughts, did I handle this situation well?
Photo credit: SportsIllustrated.com