Just how safe is youth football? The picture painted by the media is that the sport is dangerous and barbaric for children to play. And let’s not forget all of the concussion talk that has been hovering around youth football like a black cloud. A USA Football study is following 2000 kid football athletes in 6 US states to help learn more about safety in the game.
The initial results from this study are extremely encouraging.
90% of the kid athletes monitored did not report an injury. Of the few that did, most were able to get back into their games. The most noted complaint were scrapes and bruises. Concussions occurred less than 4% of the time (a percentage similar to soccer).
Over the last few years, the game has taken an abrupt shift to get safer. It starts with coaching- there are now various online resources to help a coach get better informed about safety practices. There’s a youtube video for everything! Pop Warner and other leagues are restricting hits in practice and are curbing rules to result in smarter, safer play. The equipment manufacturers are producing better helmets. The continuing studies at Virginia Tech by Stefan Duma are helping in these efforts. Helmet manufacturers want a seal of approval- a 5 star rating from VA Tech, read about the latest helmet to receive a 5 star rating.
This recent study proves that progress is being made and the ‘warrior mentality’ (when referring to injuries) in football is fading. We expect the second year of the study to be a better success than the first, with less kids reporting injuries. It’s hopeful that parents that were once afraid to allow their kids to play football, will reconsider their decision. The benefits of playing this game are immense.