Nation

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.

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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.

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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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