Recent sports headlines have generated a lot of reasonable concern among parents about the serious effects of concussions on NFL, NCAA and Youth football athletes. It has been especially difficult finding the answers for these concerns with many doctors and scientists admitting so much is still unknown about the long-term effects of repeated concussions.

Here is the guide to help us answer the question:

Is football safe for children?

Injuries in Football

The top 10 sports-related head-injury categories
among children ages 14 and younger

Sports &
Contribute to about 21%
of all traumatic brain injuries
among American children and adolescents

Yearly     Injuries

total count of injuries in 2012 (all ages)

  • Stairs, Ramps,
    Landings & Floors
  • Mattresses and Beds
  • Chairs, Sofas and
    Sofa Beds
  • Bicycle
  • Basketball
  • Football

Traumatic     Injuries

resulting in hospitalization and/or death (all ages)

  • Football
  • Horseback Riding
  • Playground
  • Clothing
  • Excerise / Equipment
  • Bicycles
Micro head
trauma occurs
an average of
4,000 times
over high school or collegiate football career


Football Fatalities

From 2000-2010

Youth Data
continues the trend of
single digit fatalities
football is becoming
more safe

Pros of youth football

  • Players receive
    37-46% fewer hits
    with updated USA football and
    pop warner regulations
  • 1/9 the injury rate
    The injury rate in youth football
    is less than 1/9 in highschool and
    professional football
  • Zero indirect
    in youth football during
    2010 season

Cons of youth football

  • Zero evidence
    that helmet add-ons help
    prevent concussions
  • 60% increase
    in child emergency room visits
    for sports-related brain
    injuries in recent years
  • 21% of all traumatic
    brain injuries
    are from sports and recreational
    activities for children

Sports-Related Injuries

Athlete exposure = 1 athlete participating in 1 practice or competition

  • Youth Football
  • High School Football
  • College Football
  • 18 out of every 1000

  • 5 out of every 1000
    athlete exposures

  • 8 injuries per 1000 athlete-exposures

Likelihood of a Child
Becoming Professional

  • Only 1 in 16,000

    high school athletes
    attain a professional
  • 1 in 20 Youth

    football players go
    on to high school
  • 0.08%

    of high school
    football players
    make it to NFL


    of youth
    football players
    make it to NFL

by age 13, 70%
of kids drop out of
youth sports

Concussion Statistics

  • 300,000 reported sports-related concussions every year
  • Approximately 750,000 to 2,250,000 unreported Concussions are unidentifiable with MRI's and X-rays and extremely hard to diagnose
  • Mental state symptoms of Concussions do not show for at least 24-48 hours after injury
  • Second-Impact Syndrome is fatal in up to 50% of cases where players receive a subequent brain injury before first has been recovered from

Signs of a Concussion

  • Athlete is drowsy or unable to wake
  • Nausea
  • One pupil is larger than another
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Recognition inability
  • Increased confusion
  • Weakness, numbness, or
    decreased coordination
  • Occuring headache which
    increases in strength
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness
    (for any amount or time)

What to Do If Concussion

  • Immediately remove athlete from play

    Check for signs and symptoms of a concussion

  • Ensure athlete is evaluated by appropriate health care professional

    DO NOT judge the severity of the injury or concussion yourself; check with a professional

  • Inform parents or guardian

  • Keep athlete out of play

    Athlete should be removed from play for the rest of the game until such time as they are thoroughly evaluated and cleared for return-to-play