Concussions to Blame for Decline in Youth Sports

CHESTERFIELD (WRIC) – Participation in youth football is apparently on the decline and concussions could be to blame.

New numbers say Pop Warner, the largest youth football organization, has seen a 10 percent drop in the past few years.

Local organizations including the chesterfield quarterback league say they have seen a slight decline in participation, though it doesn't seem to be as high as 10 percent.

Coach Ray King is getting the football field ready for Alberta Smith Elementary School's playoff game tomorrow.

As the season comes to an end, he knows how much the game has changed since he played – especially when it comes to concussions.

“Back when I played, I probably had several concussions and didn't know about it,” he says. “Each year it's getting better and better in telling you what a concussion is.

Awareness about concussions is being blamed for the decline in participation in youth football across the country.

USA Football, which oversees youth football around the u-s, says participation has dropped from 3 million to 2.8 million over the last two years.

King says that might be happening here as well. 

“A lot of the kids play flag and then won't play anymore.”

But it is ultimately up to parents and king says he is okay letting his child play.

He says injuries can happen in football, but safety comes down to learning how to tackle properly and other fundamentals.

“You never know what's going to happen. It's how your team plays and the other team plays.”

Some organizations have blamed other factors like the economy, or young athletes playing only a single sport. But with all the awareness with concussions, it's hard to not to point fingers at that as the culprit.


Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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