A youth football league in Richfield, Minnesota has reported what many organizations across the country have experienced in 2012- falling numbers of participants playing youth football. The reason is apparent- parents have concussion and player safety concerns.
Where do parents get these concerns?
What some in the mainstream media have so carelessly constructed is the notion that concussions occur often in youth football. This is simply not true. At the youth level, due to the size, speed and strength of the athletes the hits are just not as impactful. Furthermore, as helmet manufacturers continue to improve safety features and kids football safety legislation becomes enacted, youth football will essentially become one of the safest sports to play. That is if the coach does his part. One point remains consistent- it’s the coach’s number one responsibility to teach safe technique. If he does his job, the players on his team will remain safe and benefit immensely.
More about the Richfield league (see the article), I see a trend that is frankly a concern. In 2011, Richfield football had five teams with 15 players per team. This year, just 4 teams with 12 players on each squad. This is the 3rd and 4th grade level, a typical age to get kids involved in youth sports. Should this continue, how many teams will they have in 3 years?
I recently read a statistic that the number of web searches regarding youth football have decreased substantially this year compared to years prior. This indicates a lack of interest, or should I say fear, in the sport.
We won’t let this trend continue. We encourage you to use social media to promote the game of football and all of it’s many benefits. Knock on your neighbors doors and have a discussion about how football shapes character and builds mental fortitude.
Playing youth football isn’t just about a grueling matchup between two teams from neighboring areas. It’s a proven vehicle to teach life lessons to children. Kids absolutely need to play the game as it promotes physical fitness, discipline, work ethic, teamwork, patience and so much more.
What are your thoughts on the declining numbers of kids getting involved in the sport? Let us know in the comments area.