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Dads, Kids, Concussions, and Football

Survey Reveals – Even Dads With Football-Related Concussions Want Young Sons Playing Tackle Football 

• 90% of dads who suffered football-related concussions want their kids to play tackle football

• 43% of football player dads say there’s too much hype over concussions

(November 13, 2012) – Despite increasing awareness about concussion dangers for young athletes, a new national survey reveals 90% of men who played tackle football at the high school level or higher who suffered or suspected they suffered a concussion want their sons to play tackle football.  Not only that, nearly half (43%) believe there is too much hype over concussions.

Of all football-playing dads polled, 77% say tackle football is safe for children under age 12 even though more than 3 in 5 of these dads suffered a concussion themselves during their playing days.  And even more surprising, dads say most moms (61%) agree with them that tackle football is safe for young athletes.

The survey of 300 dads who played tackle football at the high school level or higher, was commissioned by the non-profit arm of i9 Sports, the nation’s first and fastest growing youth sports franchise.

  • 53% of football dads  say kids who play tackle sometimes think getting a concussion “is cool”, or “ a status symbol” that means you are “tough and play hard.”
  • More than 1 in 3 football dads (36%) say their son’s competitive youth sports coach (any sport) is more interested in a win over safe play.
  • Almost 1 in 5 football dads (19%) say despite concussion awareness, there have been no noticeable changes to the policies and procedures of youth sports.

“The startling results of this survey show even though concussion awareness is permeating youth sports today, often parents, young players and even coaches don’t heed the warnings,” says Brian Sanders, COO and President of i9 Sports, which has more than 550,000 members at 275 locations across the country. “It’s scary to us that dads who suffered concussions encourage their young sons to play tackle football at a young age. Studies show a concussion can be more dangerous for young athletes because their brains are still developing. Still these young athletes perceive concussions as a ‘cool status symbol.’  Concussion safety is a top priority at i9 Sports which is why we recommend flag football until high school.”

In other survey findings:

  • More than three in five football dads (61%) say they and their son’s mom AGREE that tackle football IS safe and the right choice for their son.
  • More than 1/3 of football dads (36%) say youth athletes don’t understand concussion dangers and don’t take precautions.
  • Almost 1/3 of football dads (31%) say coaches understand concussion dangers but don’t take precautions.


The non-profit arm of i9 Sports is the source for this survey. (i9 Sports Association); online survey was done by a third party and commissioned by the nonprofit arm of  i9 Sports. Survey participants had no affiliation with i9 Sports. The survey included 300 respondents, all dads who played football at the high school level or higher with son(s) ages 8 to14.

Karen Schwartzkopf has her dream job as managing editor of RFM. Wife, mother, arts and sports lover, she lives and works in the West End with her family, including husband Scott, who not coincidentally is RFM’s creative director. You can read Karen’s take on parenting her three daughters – Sam, Robin, and Lindsey, also known as the women-children – in the Editor’s Voice.

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