(U.S.) – According to a study published in the May 2019 Pediatrics, more than 60 percent of 1,025 U.S. parents surveyed reported they would support age restrictions for tackling in youth football.
This is similar to limits already in place in soccer and hockey. The study, “Parents’ Perspectives Regarding Age Restrictions for Tackling in Youth Football” (published April 1 online), found parents who were female, college-educated, and had a greater perceived risk for concussion were most likely to support age restrictions.
An estimated 63 percent of female parents and 58 percent of male parents would support a minimum age for tackling in football, or 61 percent of parents overall. An additional 24 percent of parents would maybe support a minimum age for tackling in youth football; only 15% were opposed. Football is one of the most popular sports for boys, with approximately five million youth participants in the United States each year, and it provides an important outlet for physical activity.
As improvements are made in the safety of youth sports, rules are an essential tool. An understanding of parents’ attitudes towards proposed rule changes can be valuable for shaping public discourse.
Editor’s Note: A solicited commentary, “Youth Tackle Football: Perception and Reality,” will be published in the same issue of Pediatrics.