Almost Half of Parents Worry About Kids Playing Football

But only 5% discourage their kids from playing

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 28, 2014 12:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – Almost half of parents have concerns about their kids playing football, but according to a new AP-GfK poll, they're not exactly yanking their offspring off the field in the kind of droves that will "kill pro football." Some 44% of parents were "not comfortable" letting their child punt and pass the pigskin, but only 5% said they had actually "discouraged" their kids from playing over the last two years, reports the AP. The majority of the 1,044 adults interviewed for the poll said they didn't have a problem with their kids playing most other sports, including baseball, basketball, and soccer—though the New York Times reports that FIFA was sued yesterday by a group of soccer parents and players over its handling of concussions.

Feeding into parents' fears are high-profile deaths of pros like Junior Seau and a pending class-action settlement that would pay "thousands of former NFL players for concussion-related claims," notes NFL.com. But the National Federation of State High School Associations says that participation in high school football actually rose last year, after four straight years of losses. One possible explanation: With the NFL and NCAA finally acknowledging the seriousness of head injuries in the league, and college teams testing the next generation of head protection, some parents are feeling better about their kids on the field. "There's a lot of publicity on [concussions] now … I'm not as worried," one parent tells the AP.

Children wait as Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson signs autographs after an NFL football camp practice on July 29, 2014, in Renton, Wash.
Children wait as Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson signs autographs after an NFL football camp practice on July 29, 2014, in Renton, Wash.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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