40 percent would encourage child to play sport other than football

Jan. 31, 2014 at 3:23 PM
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ROCHESTER, N.Y., Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Forty percent of Americans would discourage a child from playing football because of its potential health hazards, a survey released Friday said.

Timed to coincide with Sunday's Super Bowl, the annual survey conducted by Harris Poll notes football has been America's most popular sport for three decades and the Super Bowl is television's most-watched annual event, but those who would encourage a child to play a sport other than football include 37 percent of parents surveyed.

Additionally, 41 percent said the NFL has taken "meaningful action to reduce and prevent" concussions suffered during games. Twenty percent of respondents said the NFL had not taken such action.

An examination of data from youth sports leagues and sports equipment industry associations concludes fewer children in the United States are playing team sports, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Combined participation by boys and girls age six to 17 in soccer, basketball, baseball and football fell by 4 percent from 2008 to 2012.

Declines in youth sports participation could have long-lasting consequences since organized sports have long been regarded as a defense against increasing rates of disease-inducing inactivity, the newspaper said.

"It is much more likely that someone who is active in their childhood is going to remain active into adulthood," said Dr. William Dexter, president of the American College of Sports Medicine.

The Harris poll of 800 American adults was taken Jan. 22-25 and has a margin of error of 3.46 percentage points.

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