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And last week, a poll commissioned by HBO Real Sports and conducted by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion found that 33 percent of responders said the link between head injuries in football and the long-term effects of brain trauma would make them less likely to allow their sons to play football.
“For almost one in five Americans — 16 percent — the risk of long-term brain injury due to youth football participation would be the deciding factor in whether or not to allow their son to play football,” the report said.
That’s far from the tipping point, but if a critical mass of moms say “no” to youth football, the pyramid under the NFL crumbles.
Two years ago, the Florida High School Athletic Association developed a concussion action plan which required players to be removed from the remainder of the game after a suspected concussion, and not to return to play in future games until they had been evaluated and cleared to play by a health care professional.
Remarkably though, the FHSAA, which requires reports within 24 hours for displays of unsportsmanlike conduct during high school games, doesn’t collect information on the number of high school kids who receive concussions while playing high school sports.
“We’re involved in trying to increase awareness, but we don’t keep statistics,” said FHSAA spokesman Corey Sobers.
That’s good news for the NFL. For now, Florida remains a fertile incubator for the next generation of brain-injured NFL players.
But the foundation has started to crumble.
Frank Cerabino writes for The Palm Beach Post. Distributed by the New York Times News Service.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.