By Ken Reed
The number of boys playing tackle football at the youth and high school levels continues a gradual decline. But the latest football participation stats revealed an interesting trend: the number of girls playing tackle football at the high school level is actually on the rise.
In fact, the number of girls playing high school football this year was 1,964, more than double the number of participants from seven years ago.
One theory as to why this is happening is that society’s acceptance of girls playing traditionally boys sports is growing faster than the rise in safety concerns about playing high school football.
A quick caveat about the latest girls football stats: It is believed that a significant percentage of girls playing high school football are kickers, and thus, not exposed to brain trauma to the degree those who play other positions in football are.
That said, there is a movement to get more girls playing tackle football at all positions on the field. For example, an organization called Utah Girls Tackle Football had approximately 400 girls participating this year.
This trend has doctors and medical researchers worried. Studies have shown that in sports with similar rules for girls and boys, the rate of concussions is higher in the females. In general, studies show female athletes sustain more concussions than their male counterparts, report more severe symptoms and have a longer duration of recovery than male athletes.
“Why bring girls into it? We should be taking the boys out of it,” said Dr. Robert Stern, director of clinical research for Boston University’s C.T.E. Center, which studies the degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head.
“It doesn’t make sense to expose our children to repetitive head impacts during periods of incredible maturation of the most important organ in our body, the brain.”
Why? It’s an important question to ask.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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