Half of Americans Now Think Playing Football ‘Inappropriate’ for Kids: Survey

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News Picture: Half of Americans Now Think Playing Football 'Inappropriate' for Kids: SurveyBy Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 4, 2022 (HealthDay Information)

As sign-ups for youth soccer get underway this spring, a brand new examine reveals that Individuals might love their soccer, however half now consider that youngsters shouldn’t play the sort out model of the sport.

The researchers discovered that of almost 4,000 U.S. adults surveyed, solely 45% agreed that sort out soccer is an “acceptable sport for teenagers to play.” Half disagreed, whereas the remaining 5% had been not sure.

The survey didn’t dig into the explanations behind these opinions. However it’s probably that security considerations had been an enormous issue, mentioned researcher Mariah Warner, a doctoral pupil in sociology at Ohio State College, in Columbus.

The largest fear with soccer, she famous, is concussion — and whether or not repeat knocks to the pinnacle may put younger gamers prone to long-term issues with reminiscence or different mind features.

Issues have been heightened lately, partly due to high-profile instances of long-term brain injury amongst former NFL gamers. Gamers corresponding to Frank Gifford and Junior Seau had been discovered, after their deaths, to have indicators of a degenerative mind situation known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

CTE is a type of mind degeneration believed to be brought on by repeated head trauma. It has been discovered not solely in former professional soccer gamers, but additionally in athletes who performed different contact sports activities, like hockey and boxing.

In the case of youth sports activities, the potential long-term results of concussion are unclear, in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The AAP is one among many medical and sports-related teams which have come out with methods for making soccer safer for teenagers. They embody bans on head-first tackling and sure “high-risk” drills, and having athletic trainers current at practices and video games, to assist guarantee gamers with potential concussions are taken off the sector.

Another doable fixes — together with a ban on tackling earlier than age 14 — stay controversial.

With that because the backdrop, Warner and her colleague Chris Knoester wished to get a way of public opinion.

They turned to information from the Nationwide Sports activities and Society Survey, which sought Individuals’ views on a variety of sports-related matters. One query requested them to fee the diploma to which they agreed or disagreed with the assertion, “Sort out soccer is an acceptable sport for teenagers to play.”

It turned out that, as with so many issues, Individuals had been cut up down the center.

And there have been varied demographics that separated the 2 camps, Warner mentioned. Not surprisingly, heterosexual males voiced extra assist for teenagers’ sort out soccer, versus girls and individuals who recognized as homosexual or bisexual.

A lot of these variations had been defined by private experiences, as heterosexual males had typically performed soccer as children. However broader ideologies got here into play, too: Self-described conservatives, for instance, had been extra prone to assist youth sort out soccer.

In the meantime, lower-income and Black Individuals took a extra favorable view than higher-income and white survey respondents.

Warner mentioned that may replicate the truth that these households have fewer choices so far as their children’ actions go. Plus, they could see soccer as a approach to achieve scholarships to varsity.

“Folks’s beliefs and opinions on this are complicated,” Warner mentioned. And that, she added, could also be why it is so laborious to search out settlement on proposals like sort out bans.

The findings had been printed on-line March 26 within the journal Social Currents.

So, whose facet is “proper?” That is sophisticated, too.

It is true that relative to many different sports activities children play, sort out soccer has a better fee of concussion, mentioned Thayne Munce, a sports activities scientist with Sanford Well being, in Sioux Falls, S.D., and a fellow of the American School of Sports activities Medication.

However he additionally mentioned folks’s opinions could also be overly influenced by media consideration on CTE amongst former NFL gamers — whose years of laborious hits are very completely different from the expertise of children taking part in youth soccer.

Plus, Munce mentioned, in the present day’s youth soccer is way completely different from years in the past.

“I feel what’s been unnoticed of the general public discourse is how the sport is transferring in the best course,” he mentioned.

In a current study, his workforce discovered indicators that concussion consciousness and new security suggestions are making a distinction. They adopted one youth soccer workforce over the course of eight seasons, with the assistance of helmet-mounted influence screens. Throughout that point, children’ head impacts — which may result in concussion — dropped by 79%.


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What is the absolute concussion threat to children?

At the highschool stage, boys’ sort out soccer carries the very best concussion fee, in line with a 2018 AAP report. The speed is roughly 0.5 to 0.9 concussions for each 1,000 video games and practices. (Subsequent on the record was ladies’ soccer, with a fee of 0.3 to 0.7 per 1,000.)

Figures from youth soccer are tougher to assemble, Munce mentioned. Maybe tougher nonetheless for fogeys, he famous, is balancing damage threat towards the various advantages children get from taking part in workforce sports activities.

Limiting youthful gamers to flag soccer might seem to be a no brainer: All the advantages with far fewer head impacts.

However, Munce mentioned, some argue the delay in instructing correct tackling methods may backfire: Greater, harder-hitting highschool athletes may find yourself with extra concussions.

“The reply is, we simply do not know,” Munce mentioned.

Some additionally fear such delays would diminish gamers’ total abilities, Warner mentioned.

“However,” she famous, “Tom Brady did not play sort out soccer till he was 14.”

Extra info

The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention has extra on concussion in youth sports.

SOURCES: Mariah Warner, doctoral pupil, sociology, Ohio State College, Columbus, Ohio; Thayne Munce, PhD, Sanford Well being, Sioux Falls, S.D., and fellow, American School of Sports activities Medication, Indianapolis; Social Currents, March 26, 2022, on-line

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