Factors That Reduce Parental Concern for Concussion Risks in Youth Tackle Football

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Joseph McGlynnDepartment of Communication Studies, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA

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Brian K. RichardsonDepartment of Communication Studies, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA

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Rebecca D. BoneauDepartment of Communication Studies, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA

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This study sought to identify factors that reduce parental concern of concussion risks for children who play youth tackle American football. Interviews were conducted with parents who allowed children between the ages of 10 and 15 years to play on tackle football teams. Factors that reduced parental concern included advances in equipment safety and helmet technology, active parental monitoring and relationship building with coaches, and social comparisons to other youth athletes regarding their own child’s athleticism and ability to avoid injury. Although these factors reduced parents’ concern for concussion risks, the findings highlight biases that influence parental risk judgments, suggest that interventions to reduce concussions must account for competing narratives of concussion prevention, and offer recommendations for improving education efforts focused on player safety in contact sports.

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