To say that the game of football has been under attack the last handful of years would be an understatement. The national media seems to be infatuated with the stories that incite fear into viewers, but has no issue in shying away from some of the better stories out there involving the game.
Less than a year ago, California proposed a bill that aimed at banning youth tackle football until kids turned 12 (or 14, depending on what source you read). The bill cause quite a stir, but was eventually shelved in April.
That brings me to a recent article published by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) which shares some exciting news for coaches, parents, and fans of football.
The piece shares that, thanks to a number of different factors, the risk of serious injury has never been lower in the history of high school football. Some of the factors that have led to that include a change to playing rules over the years, some rules regarding in-season contact, the focus on concussion education and prevention for coaches and trainers working with kids today, and the strides made recently in the ability to diagnose and detect concussions and head injuries the last decade or so.
Here's an excerpt from the article:
"In the end, whether it is a parent of a youth or high school football player, leaders of the sport at all levels, insurance companies or the participants themselves, the question is the same: What is the risk associated with playing the sport? And with regard to the answer to that question at the high school level of football, we would say that the risk of injury is less today than at any point in the history of the sport."
How about that? The game we love, and some love to attack, has actually never been safer.
In sharing that, the NFHS notes that they've provided more than 400 AEDs to schools through a grant program, and last month 600 additional AED units were shipped out to schools with the eventual goal to have one in every high school in America. They also offer a free "Concussion in Sports" online course that has educated over 4 million people dating back to 2010. Many states mandate that coaches take the course, or something very similar.
While I think we'd all feel a lot more comfortable with some concrete statistics on the matter, this is certainly a step in the right direction by the NFHS.
The report also shares numbers that illustrate that while participation in some areas may be on the decline slightly, the interest in football is actually on the rise based on the number of folks attending state title games in a number of different states.
Head here to read the full piece, and make sure to pass this along to your parents and community via social media.