90 pct. of dads who suffered football concussions want their sons to play

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by TRAVIS PITTMAN / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 1:47 PM

A new survey finds 90 percent of men who played tackle football at the high school level or higher, and suffered or suspected to have suffered a concussion as a result, still want their sons to play tackle football. But nearly a third say youth coaches don’t take precautions to protect players from concussions.

The survey of 300 football dads was conducted for i9 Sports, which promotes leagues, tournaments and camps in various youth sports, including flag football.

The findings show 43 percent believe that the concern over concussions is overhyped and 65 percent say if their son had a concussion, they would let them continue playing tackle football after the injury healed.

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But, 36 percent say their son’s competitive youth sports coach is more interested in a win over safe play and 31 percent say coaches understand concussion dangers but don’t take precautions.

“It’s scary to us that dads who suffered concussions encourage their young sons to play tackle. Studies show a concussion can be more dangerous for young athletes because their brains are still developing.” said Brian Sanders, President of i9 Sports in a press release “That’s why we recommend flag football until high school.”

The issue of concussions in football has been a hot topic in recent years, from youth football all the way to the pros. The NFL has adopted stricter rules about how players must demonstrate that they have recovered from a concussion before they are allowed to take the field again, which can take several weeks.

Washington state has one of the toughest laws in the country when it comes to concussions in youth sports. Athletes cannot return to practice or a game until evaluated by a licensed physician trained in the diagnosis and management of concussions and given written medical authorization.

Washington’s law was inspired by Zach Lystedt, who suffered a concussion during a middle school football game in 2006.  He returned to the game without being checked out, then collapsed afterward and needed two emergency brain surgeries to survive. It took months for him to regain his speech, even longer to regain motor function.

Twenty-three other states have since passed similar laws protecting student athletes.

Other findings in the survey:

-- 77 percent say tackle football is safe for children under age 12 and 61 percent say most moms agree with them that tackle football is safe for children.

-- 36 percent say youth athletes don’t understand concussion dangers and don’t take precautions and 53 percent say kids who play tackle sometimes think getting a concussion “is cool”, or “a status symbol” that means you are “tough and play hard.”

“This frightening survey shows even though concussion awareness is permeating youth sports today, often parents, young players and perhaps even coaches don’t heed the warnings,” said Sanders.

Nineteen percent say despite concussion awareness, there have been no noticeable changes to the policies and procedures of youth sports.

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