Just a year ago, the NFL settled a multi-million class action lawsuit brought by former NFL players who accused it of hiding evidence of brain injuries caused by the game. That settlement provides payments to players who suffer from concussion-related trauma and illness. Relatedly, the NFL responded to parents’ concerns about the potential ill effects of youth football by funding and promoting the “Heads Up Football” program which, it says, promotes safety for children playing football in youth leagues. As the New York Times reports, “The league and U.S.A. Football, youth football’s governing body, which oversees the program, have sold Heads Up Football to thousands of leagues and parents as having been proved effective – that an independent study showed that the program reduced injuries by 76 percent and concussions by about 30 percent.” The problem, according to the Times, is that the July 2015 study, “showed no such thing”. “The research and interviews with people involved with it indicate, rather, that Heads Up Football showed no demonstrable effect on concussions during the study, and significantly less effect on injuries over all, than U.S.A. Football and the league have claimed in settings ranging from online materials to Congressional testimony.” The NFL is blaming the company that did the study. But, without accurate information, how can parents truly evaluate the risk to their children of participating in youth football? And is youth football unsafe at any speed?
Read the NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/28/sports/football/nfl-concussions-youth-program-heads-up-football.html?_r=0