Soccer replacing American football due to brain damage and injury risks?

Related to my post about the role of headgear in soccer to prevent concussions, here’s a NPR and a New York Times news story from yesterday about an increasing number of school districts canceling American football due to high injury risk, especially brain damage, and replacing it with soccer:

CLICK HERE for NPR’s Missouri High School Joins Others In Canceling Football Program

CLICK HERE for NYT’s As Worries Rise and Players Flee, a Missouri School Board Cuts Football

When I first watched the below Frontline report on brain damage in American football I immediately thought about what this might be doing to kids that practice and play american football from a young age and over many years, and what all this might mean for the future of the sport.

Violent impacts on the body and the brain are simply part of the sport and I can’t see how, realistically, it can be made safe enough to be played by kids (and adults for that matter).

And if an increasing number of parents decide that American football is not worth the risk of longer-term brain damage for their kids then one obvious alternative team sport is soccer. This should bode well for the continue growth of soccer in our country.

If you want to learn more about brain injuries in American football and the cover-up by the NFL check out Frontline’s report League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.

Lifelong player and student of the beautiful game in Germany, England, and USA. Volunteer futsal coach and USSF referee.

2 thoughts on “Soccer replacing American football due to brain damage and injury risks?

  1. I wonder if there are stats about boxing participation, as that used to be a prominent sport that is now very marginal. It seems that’s only played by very disadvanted youth nowadays.
    In the past, from what I’ve heard, probably back to the 50’s that boxing used to be a high school sport…but I’ve not heard of any high school boxing programs since then.

    I can imagine american football school participation dwindling as I think a lot of parents are now thinking twice about letting their kids participate…but I doubt it will halve in the next 30 years.

    I could easily see heading being banned in youth soccer in the not so distant future too. I don’t see a good reason for younger kids to be heading balls honestly.

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    • I agree with you, Mark. Maybe not introduce heading until the kids are, say, 14? Btw, for american football participation to halve over 30 years only requires a ~2% drop per year. Not impossible, especially given the strong medical/health reasons.

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