Verify Fast Fact: Should your child play football?

Verify Fast Fact: Should your child play football?

Recently, a high school football player in Justin, TX, outside Fort Worth, died after being hit in the head.  Autopsy results are still pending.

We know you want the truth AND that you don’t always believe the media gives it to you.  With our segment, Verify, we try to give you the more facts and more context.

In response, we’re going deep on the facts around football and concussions. 

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POINT: When people talk about the risk of concussion in football they frequently say riding a bike is the number one cause of head injuries in sports and recreation.  

That is a U.S. government stat. But it needs a lot of context.  After all, talking about bike accidents isn’t very helpful if you’re considering putting your child in football.

The reason? A large number of kids ride bikes so you’re going to have more accidents and more concussions.

Here’s what is more helpful -- looking only at kids who play high school sports.  

Of all those kids, 14% play football.  But 40.5% of concussions happen on the football field.  That’s more than the next three sports, combined.

CONCLUSION:  For kids in sports football is where the real concussion danger lies.

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POINT: Concussion risk is lower now that we’ve got a new generation of helmet technology.

The fact is, there just isn’t agreement on this point. 

Virginia Tech University has a 5-star rating system for helmets 'that best reduce your chances of sustaining a concussion.'  Helmet makers brag about their 5-Star ratings.

But the governing body that sets standards for athletic equipment, The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, is not a fan of the Virginia Tech ratings.  It says, '… scientific evidence does not support the claim…'

Virginia Tech tests for linear acceleration -- which is a straight line blow to the head.  It doesn’t test for rotational force -- which is the circular whiplash-motion of the head.  Experts believe that’s one of the biggest factors in a concussion.

On top of that, the governing body for equipment says 'there is still no agreement on what level of rotational force can be considered safe or dangerous for athletes.'

CONCLUSION:  The 5-Star rating system is a good piece of information but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

 

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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