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Parents wary of head injuries in youth sports

Parents are worried about their children playing football, but most haven’t decided to keep their kids from putting on a helmet and stepping onto the field.

According to an Associated Press-GfK poll, nearly half of parents said they had reservations about letting their children play football — and other contact sports — amid growing uncertainty about the long-term effects of concussions.

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In the poll, 44 percent of parents weren’t comfortable with their children playing football. The same percentage was uncomfortable with ice hockey, and 45 percent were uncomfortable with wrestling.

Only 5 percent, though, said they have discouraged their children from playing in the last two years as concern over head injuries has increased.

The majority of parents said they are comfortable with participation in a host of other sports — including swimming, track and field, basketball, soccer, baseball, and softball.

The AP-GfK poll was conducted from July 24 to 28. It included interviews with 1,044 adults and has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

The parents’ concern comes as several high-profile lawsuits have challenged how concussions have been addressed in pro and college sports.

Thousands of pro players sued the NFL, and a $675 million settlement that would compensate them for concussion-related claims is pending.

A tentative settlement with the NCAA, meanwhile, would create a $70 million fund to test thousands of current and former college athletes for brain trauma.

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