Is playing football good for kids?

The high school football season has begun in Minnesota. (MPR photo/Tom Weber)
“Parents who are looking for authoritative answers to their questions about the safety of youth football, hockey and other sports may just have to wait,” reports the Daily Circuit blog.

“Responding to concerns about the long-term effects of concussions and other injuries, people who work in youth sports are devising ways to make football safer. The trouble is, they don’t know how serious the problem is or whether those initiatives will work.”

“Coaching improvements and teaching proper tackling technique is probably the best way to try to mitigate some of these injuries,” said Thomas Dompier, whose firm does data analysis of sports injuries. Thomas said. But he added, “The whole concept of teaching new tackling techniques is very new. It hasn’t been studied yet.”

Former Viking John Swain, who coaches high school football and represents the Heads Up Football program, pointed out that all contact sports cause injuries.

“Statistics state that you get more kids who are actually injured riding their bike or skateboarding than actual football,” Swain said.

Dompier agreed. “As John said, there’s risk in every sport, and there are other activities like skateboarding and some others that actually result in more deaths and catastrophic injuries. I think this is a sport problem, not just a football problem.

Today’s Question: Is playing football good for kids?