Recruiting pool for NFL, college could dwindle with TBI concerns

Playing in the National Football League may be considered a job that is envied by California residents and other teens and adults across the country. Have you ever watched a San Francisco 49ers game and thought “I’d give anything to have those talents or that employment contract”?

It takes a talented, extremely athletic and even well-trained individual to rise up through the ranks from youth football to NCAA play in order to even have a chance at a career in the NFL. Although the spots are limited, the NFL relies on youth programs that help build the basic skills necessary for stars to develop. That recruiting pool could get a little smaller over the next several years says a recent ESPN report, and the reason is likely player safety.

We recently wrote a report about brain injuries that are suffered by athletes, and that high school students seem to be particularly at risk for suffering trauma to the head. ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” shared statistics that show the number of youth participants is decreasing, and many believe that recent concern over brain injuries is the reason why.

Two nationally recognized youth football programs, Pop Warner and USA Football, both reported recent declines in the number of participants. For Pop Warner, there were 9.5 percent fewer participants in 2012 than there were in 2010. USA Football reported a 6.7 percent decrease in the age range of 6 to 14 in 2011.

Neither group has officially stated that the reason is brain injuries, but it is a likely conclusion. Dr. Julian Bailes, the chief medical officer for Pop Warner even shared his belief that it is the motivating factor. “Unless we deal with these truths, we’re not going to get past the dropping popularity of the sport,” he said.

Those that suffer brain injuries “deal with the truth” of the matter in the most personal way. The truth is that brain injuries occur from all kinds of negligence, whether in contact sports, car accidents or premises liability situations.

Source: Yahoo! “Report: NFL head injuries have led to drastic youth football participation decline,” Anwar S. Richardson, Nov. 14, 2013

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