Tag Archives: survey
An article in The Age reported on a study, which revealed that “most coaches and trainers of community football and rugby league teams do not know how to manage concussion in a player.”
“The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Ballarat, found that while almost all coaches and trainers surveyed could identify most of the key signs of concussion in a player, most had a limited or flawed understanding of how to manage such injuries, including ensuring it was safe for a player to return to the field.
“Fewer than 50 per cent knew that a concussed player was at increased risk of sustaining another concussion, and fewer than 25 per cent recognized that younger players typically take longer to recover from concussion.”
Youth football and the National Football League are light years apart, yet both face a growing public concern: What are the risks of concussions?
People from inside the game itself are among the headline-making voices of caution. More than 2,000 former NFL players are suing the league for not warning them about concussions. Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, an Iowa native, used the term “scary” to describe the idea of his two school-age sons playing football.
The crux of the attention being given to this issue is that so little is known about concussions, says Kyle Smoot, MD, from University of Iowa Sports Medicine. “Most of the data have been on professional, collegiate, high school, and some junior high athletes but there is very little data on the grade school/youth football-aged population,” he says.
Accordingly, Smoot and a UI Sports Medicine colleague, Andrew Peterson, MD, are conducting their own study starting this fall. They are collaborating with several regional flag and tackle football leagues to:
• Document the rates of all injuries in both tackle and flag football, including concussion
• Compare the two types of leagues (tackle vs flag)
Leagues will report injuries to the research team through a standardized reporting system. While Smoot and Peterson have pursued leagues that are geographically close, they are open to discussing participation with any league that wishes to participate.
“Given the increased media attention to youth tackle football, we have had many patients inquire about the injury risk of tackle football and/or whether flag football was safer or recommended,” Smoot says. “Seeing no data to adequately address these questions, we decided to look at our own region (in eastern Iowa, tackle football is available in some areas for second graders through junior high age; most junior highs have tackle programs).”
Peterson says the most practical goal of the study would be to inform patients and parents about the risks and allow them to make informed decisions about participation. Ideally, he adds, they would like to study a group of athletes throughout their careers and track if those that played tackle football when they were younger are at higher risk for anything including concussion.
Smoot adds that in his own practice, he has not typically seen concussions from youth football, “although we have seen more concussions in junior high and high school, this doesn’t mean pre-adolescent youths are not at risk.”
The non-profit affiliate of i9 Sports, one of the nation’s fastest growing youth sports organizations, has surveyed 300 dads who played tackle football at the high school level or higher about their own kids’ participation in tackle football and the threat of concussions.
The survey yielded some interesting results, such as the finding that 44 percent of the dads believe “there is too much hype over concussions in sports.”
Some of the other significant findings were that:
- Sixty percent of the respondents suffered concussions when they played football, and of those 45 percent continued to play in the game.
- When asked when their son started playing or will start playing football, 45 percent reported age 10 or under.
- Awareness had reshaped opinion in another respect, however, as 35 percent of the respondents said they would not allow their son to “continue to play tackle football after the injury had healed” if their son had suffered a concussion or what was believed to be a concussion.
But work remains.
When dads were asked in separate questions whether coaches, officials and league organizers “understood concussion dangers and took precautions,” they said that they believed only two-thirds of each group met that requirement.
“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.”