Majority of Americans consider tackle football unsafe for young kids

Young kids shouldn’t engage in tackle football as according to a new survey majority of Americans believe that it is not a safe sport for young kids.

The UMass Lowell-Washington Post poll found that of the 1,000 adults surveyed 53 percent feel that tackle football is not a safe activity for kids before they are in high school. 41 percent who say that tackle football is safe for children to participate in before they are in high school. Some respondents, 6 percent, are undecided on the issue.

Through adults voice their concern against tackle football before high school, a 57 percent majority of Americans believe that high school football is a safe activity. Asked in terms of children’s ages, 50 percent of adults responded that it is inappropriate to introduce tackling into football before the age of 14 compared to 44 percent who think it is appropriate.

The same poll found 83 percent of Americans believe there is settled science indicating that playing football causes brain injuries and that a large majority think that Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), one of the conditions some believe is linked to football-related head injuries, is a serious public health issue. A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that CTE was diagnosed posthumously in 99 percent of the brains of 111 former National Football League players.

Among those who said that it is true that playing football causes brain injuries, 44 percent said it is OK for children 13 or younger to play football. Among those who did not agree that playing football causes brain injuries, 54 percent said it is OK for children age 13 and younger to play football.

On the issue of whether heading the ball in soccer is safe for kids before they reach high-school age, respondents were divided again, with 44 percent saying it is safe and 44 percent who do not believe it is safe.

Other findings from the poll include:

  • Women were more likely to say that football is not appropriate for children age 13 or younger than men, 54 percent to 46 percent.
  • Of the respondents who have post-graduate or college degrees, only 34 percent said that football is OK for children age 13 or younger, compared to 48 percent of those who do not have a degree who were in favor of it.
  • Respondents in the youngest group surveyed (age 18 to 29) were more likely than those in older groups to say that football is appropriate for children age 13 or younger.