Kids and Football

From Jennifer Mascia, a post she wrote back in February:

Over the weekend, former “Dateline” host Stone Phillips wrote in to tell us of a story he recently published on his web site, Stone Phillips Reports, about the first study ever done on head impacts in youth football. “Hard Hits, Hard Numbers” includes interviews with Virginia Tech researchers who placed instrumented helmets on seven and eight-year-old football players and collected data on more than 750 hits to the head over the course of a season.

The details are jarring: the researchers found that some head impacts in youth football are equal in force to some of the bigger hits seen at the college level. And 3.5 million kids ages 6-13 play tackle football, compared to just 2,000 NFL players. “Nobody expected to see hits of this magnitude,” said lead researcher Stefan Duma.

Mr. Phillips brought the results to our attention, he wrote, “because I played football through college, had a couple of concussions and believe this issue is of importance to millions of families.”

Which echoes what Jean Fugett, the former Dallas Cowboys tight end, said about young boys playing football in Saturday’s column: “I don’t think anyone should play tackle football before high school. Kids’ bodies are not ready.”


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  • darrylrlewis

    Daniel Amen has a lot of research and information on this issue:

  • Mark E. Smith

    I like the recommendation of someone to wait until middle school at least. Maybe football should be played without helmets and pads. That may prevent hard hits that lead to concussions.

  • TJJ

    I have two pre-school boys, and they will not be playing school or other league football. As time goes on and more research and evidence mounts as to the brain damage being done, I predict schools will drop football sports programs. 100 years from now there will be no football in colleges on down and people will look back, and as like smoking and such say “what were we thinking?”

  • Rick

    Mark E. Smith:

    “Maybe football should be played without helmets and pads. That may prevent hard hits that lead to concussions.”

    I wonder what the concussion rate is for rugby.

    Interesting story on NBC last night about concussions in soccer. If I heard them right, it is second only to football in its rate.

    Finally, I recommend CNN’s special on concussions in football that Dr. Gupta did.

  • Robin

    Here is some actual research from the CDC over a 40 year period. NFL players 59% less likely to commit suicide than a “control” population.

    1 study, a limited study, but should make everyone press pause before they become convinced that they know how concussions affect player health.