This summer, The UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion conducted a poll of 1000 Americans about their attitudes towards youth sports, concussions and CTE. If you’re a parent who has had these discussions with your kids and parents communities, the results of the survey may not surprise you.
The bottom line is that concussions and their impact on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE has reached a high level of public concern.
Parents are worried are about having their kids exposed to head trauma at such an early age. Key results are below:
Most people think tackle football doesn’t make sense for kids under 14
78% of those surveyed surveyed believe it’s inappropriate for kids to play tackle football before age 14
21% of those surveyed feel that it’s OK for kids under 14
Slight gender gap but still pretty consistent thinking
94% of women oppose tackle football before age 10
84% of women oppose it before age 14
72% of men oppose tackle football before age 14
Not just football
60% of respondents believe that it’s not safe for kids to “head” the ball in soccer before high school
From UMASS Lowell prof, Jeffrey Gerson who has studied sports concussions for over a decade:
“This poll confirms a growing public awareness that concussions can result in CTE, a degenerative brain disease, and that CTE is now viewed as a serious public health issue…The poll also confirms that the public believes that one of the greatest threats to athletes is at the youth level. The public’s negative view of tackle football for children under 14 and heading a soccer ball in youth soccer may lead to further changes in these sports that can have a ripple effect on sports for older children, especially at the high school level.”
If you want to dig into the data further, head over to the UMASS Lowell website.