Super Bowl-Eve Poll: 40 Percent Would Steer Kids Away From Football

Image: Super Bowl-Eve Poll: 40 Percent Would Steer Kids Away From Football Andre Caldwell, No. 12, of the Denver Broncos is hit by two San Diego defenders during the AFC divisional playoff game on Jan. 12.

Friday, 31 Jan 2014 08:23 AM

By Courtney Coren

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It may be America's favorite sport, but 40 percent of Americans say they would encourage their children to play sports other than football, as concussions become a growing concern, a new poll finds.

However, 60 percent of Americans and 62 percent of parents would not discourage their children from playing football, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of 800 adults taken Jan. 22-25. The poll has a margin of error of 3.46 percentage points.

Forty-one percent of Americans, 52 percent of parents, and 59 percent of National Football League fans are encouraged by the effort made by the NFL "to reduce and prevent" concussions.

The NFL has made new rules and regulations for the purpose of reducing concussions and making the game safer in general. The league announced Thursday that concussions fell 13 percent in 2013 and helmet-to-helmet related concussions fell 23 percent, according to the Journal.

"I think it's important for parents, especially parents of youngsters under 14, to have this discussion," Dr. Robert Cantu, professor of neurology and neurosurgery and co-director of Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, told NBC News.

"If the youngster doesn't have a passion for a sport with a high risk of head injury then he is probably better off with some other sport," Cantu said.

In 2013, the NFL settled in a lawsuit filed by former players for $765 million alleging that the league had withheld information about the dangers of head trauma in the sport. However, a federal judge did not approve the settled amount, saying that it might not be enough.

According to an annual Harris Poll, football has been the most popular sport in America for three decades now, and the Super Bowl, which will air Sunday, is often the most-watched television event every year.

Democrats were more likely than Republicans to say they would encourage their children to play a sport other than football — they were split almost in half over the issue.

President Barack Obama is among those Democrats, who told The New Yorker in an interview published earlier this month that if he had a son, he "would not let [him] play pro football."

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