Fear of concussions means fewer kids playing football

Fear of concussions means fewer kids playing football

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two days ahead of the most watched football game in America, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll is showing how people are having changing views towards the sport.

The poll found that, of the 800 people surveyed, 40% would encourage their children to play a sport other than football due to concerns over concussions.

Those concerns are valid.

Hawaii News Now spoke to Dr. George Macris of the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

"It's generally accepted children do not tolerate head trauma as well as adults. Some studies show 20% [of children suffering concussions] after one year have memory problems. There's memory problems, concentration problems, they can even get depressed".

The reason children are so vulnerable is due to their physiology. Dr. Macris explained that their brains take up more space within the skull than adults. This gives the brain less room to move around without impacting the side of the skull.

"Children's brains are tender, they're developing, they don't have much room to bounce, and when they bleed, there's not much room for swelling to escape".

Studies have shown that each time a concussion is suffered, the likelihood of sustaining another one increases.

"The sooner the second impact is, the more severe that concussion becomes with the same amount of force".

Organized football is feeling the effects of parental concern. An ESPN report showed that between 2010 and 2012, Pop Warner, the nation's largest youth football association, had a 9.5% drop in participants.

That's over 23,600 players.

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