Survey: 36 percent of parents would let 10-year-old play football
The survey was part of NBC’s Changing the Game TODAY series, which takes a look at the state of youth sports. The first installment examined youth football, concussion concerns and declining participation.A coach who has spent more than a decade in a youth football league outside of Chicago said five years ago 266 kids participated. Today, there’s just 98.
Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered the degenerative brain disease CTE, said children should avoid football, ice hockey, rugby, lacrosse and soccer until high school, when the brain is more developed. Even then, contact sports come with great risk, he said.
Today.com’s survey also found that 88 percent of parents worry about concussions if their children participate in contact sports.
Youth football participation has declined nationwide, but the drop also is an issue at the high school level. Since the 2009-10 school year, the sport has lost 53,663 high school players, but football still remains the most popular boys sport.
Click here to see the first installment of Today.com’s Changing the Game series.