Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Fear of injury curbing Minnesota kids' participation in football

Author:

In a widely discussed PBS Frontline report last week on concussions and long-term mental illnesses suffered by former NFL players, an NFL doctor reportedly confided that the end of the league would happen when 10 percent of mothers decide to keep their children away from the game.

On Tuesday, MPR-KARE 11 special assignment reporter Trisha Volpe reports that we've hit that point already. Some youth football teams across Minnesota have seen a fifth to as much as a third fewer players in the last five years, Volpe reports. Heightened concerns about the sport's safety are largely to blame for diminishing interest, say coaches, parents and players, Volpe reports.

She visits Eden Prairie, where the Eden Prairie Youth Football Association has noticed a drop of 34 percent in participation in its third- to eighth-grade league since 2008.

A poll by ESPN last year found that media coverage of the increase in concussions in football have made 57 percent of parents less likely to allow their sons to play in youth leagues.

The PBS special, and a new book by two veteran sports reporters who are featured in the documentary, has prompted some soul-searching for many fans and parents.

"Today, instead of telling kids how football helped to inspire me to go after what I want in life, I advise them and their parents to avoid the game at all costs," writes Roxanne Jones in a new column. She a founding editor of ESPN The Magazine and 30-year die-hard football fan, who says she has lost love and respect for the game. "It's not safe at any level. Play other sports."

Volpe will have more on the story Tuesday on KARE 11 at 10 p.m.

Next Up

Chris Finch

Hawks bury Timberwolves in 3-point barrage

Without D'Angelo Russell, the Wolves couldn't keep up with the Hawks.

P.J. Fleck, Gophers football

Kirk Ciarocca returning to Gophers as offensive coordinator

The architect of the 2019 offense will look to revive the Gophers.

Klobuchar - MTP - NBC screengrab

Klobuchar says Congress should pass law to protect abortion rights

Her comments came as the Supreme Court appears poised to weaken — or gut — Roe v. Wade

MPD missing Heard - crop 1_

Police ask for public's help finding Mpls. woman missing a week

The 36-year-old hasn't been seen or heard from recently.

unsplash cold winter breath dark

Hello, winter: List of the coldest wind chills in MN Monday morning

The state went from a relatively mild start of the season, to downright frigid wind chills.

deer

1 CWD-positive deer in Brainerd Lakes area, so surveillance will continue

The CWD monitoring measures were supposed to end after this year.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

MN program will train, hire 1,000 nursing assistants for long-term care

The facilities are facing a severe staffing shortage.

Minnesota State Fair - main gate day 2021

Minnesota State Fair reestablishes a police department

The fair had been contracting with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.

teacher, covid, masks, school

Minnetonka to consider removing middle school mask requirement

The school board has been impressed by vaccination rates among middle school students.

snow, plow

Friday winter storm could hit Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

Meteorologist Sven Sundgaard is already monitoring the forecast.

Sauk Rapids Middle School street view, Minnesota - November 2018_

Teen student arrested for threats toward MN middle school

The Sauk Rapids middle school and high school were closed Monday.

_DSC0318

Rally for trans child outed during Hastings school board race draws big crowd

Hastings has been in the spotlight since the child's family was featured in a CNN story.

Related