More Parents Don't Want Kids Playing Football

A new poll suggests parents are becoming increasingly wary of letting their sons play football.

A new poll suggests parents are becoming increasingly wary of letting their sons play football.

The finding came as part of a midterm voter sentiment study conducted by the Rand Corp. The survey asked 2,752 adults about a variety of issues, presenting the results through the prism of the political ideology of the respondents.

In the case of football, less half of people who voted for President Obama in 2012 (48%) said they’d be comfortable letting their son play football. Sixty-three percent of those who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 said they would let their son play the sport. Highly educated individuals (those with college degrees or above) were 46% less likely to want their sons to play football than those without a college degree (62%)

Overall, 56.5% of parents said they would feel comfortable letting their son play soccer.

The turn against football comes following research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition that has been diagnosed in a number of professional football players and which is believed to be caused by repetitive blows to the head.

It’s also possible the results were impacted by recent scandals that have plagued the National Football League and National Collegiate Athletic Association in recent months.

Meanwhile, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been playing offense when it comes to promoting youth football. At a meeting with young football players over the summer, Goodell reportedly urged the players to not be afraid to voice injury concerns.

“When you have an injury — a head injury in particular – you’ve got to ask, you’ve got to get medical treatment,” Goodell said. “It’s OK to raise your hand when you have an injury.”

The poll wasn’t entirely bad news for football. More parents said they’d let their son by football than said they would let their son play hockey. Only 53.4% said they would be comfortable letting their son suit up for a hockey team.

It also appears concerns about head injuries don’t translate to soccer — 89% of parents are okay letting their child play that sport, despite the fact that the sport involves using one’s head to hit the ball. Baseball had a 94.1% approval rate. Basketball and track each has 95.3% approval from parents.