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The decline of Pop Warner…doesn't bode well for NFL (1 Viewer)

BassNBrew

IBL Representative
You have been beating this drum for years. Get back to me when people aren't filling these 100k stadiums on Saturday and kids are turning down $200k scholies.

 

jbz

Footballguy
it's still too much of a draw, especially for people in low economic standing. It's a potential lottery ticket.

 

Go DC Yourself

Footballguy
Little kids football exists mainly for the parents enjoyment. There is little they learn at that age that can't be taught in junior and high school, where size and speed will likely win out over whatever edge was gained by having the kid play at 8. In fact, you'll have kids burned out by high school if they've been playing for 8 or so years.

 

fantasycurse42

Footballguy Jr.
I played organized football from 5 until 22... I remember Pop Warner as one of the happiest times of my childhood. With that being said, I have a little boy who is turning one in two weeks. My son is gargantuan, he is the size of an average 2 year old (I stand 6'3, my wife is 5'11) - My wife and I were both athletes so odds are in his favor.

With all of that, I am not letting him play football - I don't care if he is 6'6 270 running a 4.4 when he is 16, he will not have my consent... Walking around in constant pain is no way to live, & I know quite a few people besides me that do.

 
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themeanmachine

Footballguy
There will continue to be plenty of players available to fill all of those college and NFL stadiums. What will change is where the players are coming from. Many kids from middle income families and above will play other sports instead, while a growing percentage of football players will come from lower income families for whom football will be seen as a ticket out of poverty and worth the physical risks.

 

TheGreatSpinks

Footballguy
Walking around in constant pain is no way to live, & I know quite a few people besides me that do.
So is having your father completely close the door on a possible dream before you're two years of age. Good luck in finding a sport that doesn't have long lasting effects. I didn't play much football, and I deal with recurring problems from 12 years of baseball, and later Jiu Jitsu in my 20's.

The only way you're keeping a kid free of injuries is to wrap them up in bubble wrap and not letting them go outside...

I hear a lot of this talk like this from guys who have a young one. For me, I'm not pushing my son in any direction, but if he wants to play football, we can look into it when he gets to junior high.

 

Koya

Footballguy
The NFL will not be king forever. When will the decline begin? Will it be related to necessary changes in the game due to head injuries? Will the decline of youth participation due to the same be the cause? Cultural shifts? The growing wave of Latino immigration and changes in preferences?

Who knows... But it will happen at some point.

That said, baseball used to be king. The national pastime. What the country listened to, collectively on radio and watched on the Game of the Week. It began to give way. Less youth participation. The game became "too slow" - and even so, aren't they hitting record revenues and near or at record attendance?

So things ebb and flow, but it's not a simple delineative line that head injuries lead to less youth leads to less dollars in the game at the pro level. Not that simple, at least

 

Raiderfan32904

Footballguy
I would love to see my 7 yo son playing pop warner football. Unfortunately for him, he inherited my complete lack of athletisism. Just as well that he did. At the higher levels, the game is stacked with chemically ennhanced man-children. As a recreational sport on weekends, tossing the ball around is great. But there's easier ways to make a living.

 

Insein

Footballguy
Actually heard an interesting perspective from Ike Reese (former Eagles LB) on local radio yesterday. He said he would not have his son play pop warner but he would have him play flag football. It will teach him the basics of the game without dealing with the constant hitting at a young age. When he gets to high school, he said he would let his son decide at that point if he wants to move up to tackle football.

I used to have the thought process of whatever. But having kids now, I think this is the way I'll go if he wants to play.

 
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Phenix

Footballguy
Koya said:
The NFL will not be king forever. When will the decline begin? Will it be related to necessary changes in the game due to head injuries? Will the decline of youth participation due to the same be the cause? Cultural shifts? The growing wave of Latino immigration and changes in preferences?

Who knows... But it will happen at some point.

That said, baseball used to be king. The national pastime. What the country listened to, collectively on radio and watched on the Game of the Week. It began to give way. Less youth participation. The game became "too slow" - and even so, aren't they hitting record revenues and near or at record attendance?

So things ebb and flow, but it's not a simple delineative line that head injuries lead to less youth leads to less dollars in the game at the pro level. Not that simple, at least
The strike ruined baseball!

I think football will suffer the same thing if they Strike, good thing they were locked out during the peak of the NFL, I think America would of acted differently if they striked.

We all hate strikes, no one likes them. They are viewed as a bunch of people crying for more money, and with this putrid economy "Ain't nobody got time for that."

I predict, once they stop the QB from being touched all together will be the death of the sport.

How many times do we see ourselves yelling at the TV because of horrible calls on the QB that he was touched?

I'm addicted to fantasy, but if they game is no fun to watch, fantasy will be no fun to play.

 

Phenix

Footballguy
Actually heard an interesting perspective from Ike Reese (former Eagles LB) on local radio yesterday. He said he would not have his son play pop warner but he would have him play flag football. It will teach him the basics of the game without dealing with the constant hitting at a young age. When he gets to high school, he said he would let his son decide at that point if he wants to move up to tackle football.

I used to have the thought process of whatever. But having kids now, I think this is the way I'll go if he wants to play.
Why learn the game then if you will not play it the way it is meant.

So in other words, he will not be learning the game. Part of learning a game is taking the hit.

 

fbelange

Footballguy
Wussification of America in full swing!
Yeah really.

I played Pop Warner for 6 years and then stopped at the JV level. It was the best times. Healthy? Likley not... the reason I stopped was because I was undersized and only knew how to level bigger kids by leading with my helmet... the migraines every day took their toll.

But had my father not let me play, I would have been robbed of one of the better experiences in my life.

If my son wants to play football, hes ####in playing. What is this pansy world we live in

 

NCCommish

Footballguy
We haven't really seen a drop off here in Charlotte. Now we did in the darkest part of the recession. Pop Warner ain't cheap after all. But this year we were back to near record levels with over 4000 kids participating. IIRC our record is 4500 and we had something like 4300 this season. I am not sure what drop off there is isn't still being driven as much by the economy as any health worries.

 

fbelange

Footballguy
What the article fails to mention is the thousands of ex-football players that praise their time in the league.

A bad apple spoils the bunch. I'm not being insensitive here, I'm just pointing out that there is always more than meets the eye.

What were these specific players technique? Could they have played differently to spare their 16 concussions? Were they pre-disposed to depression anyway? I mean some of this has to be looked at.

We cant say 4 suicides = no more football. Thats crazy. How come 10,000 deaths doesnt = no more war? A little extreme but you get the point.

 

glock

"Don't grumble, give a whistle!"
We had almost NO organized youth sports outside of Little League growing up in the late 60's, early 70's and the NFL was doing fine. :shrug:

 

coolnerd

Footballguy
I don't have actual numbers to support this idea, but my guess is that the 10% of people not allowing their kid to play pop warner at 8 for head injuries , are more likely to be the same people who come up with another reason for the son not to play football in jr high or high school.

My bother-in-law coached pop Warner level for 8 or so years (in a middle to high middle neighborhood) and only like 5 of his 25-30 kids ever play varsity high school football in a given season. Of that number I think around five played college at any lkind/level (2 were his sons) . None have made to ever being good be an UDFA although the jury is out on a couple of them.

Yes, the 'pool" is in theory smaller, but chance are you taking out the ones that were non-factors to be NFL players anyway And even being an UDFA in the NFL is a complete long shot for little Johnny running around the Pop warner field.

 
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Bud

Footballguy
Actually heard an interesting perspective from Ike Reese (former Eagles LB) on local radio yesterday. He said he would not have his son play pop warner but he would have him play flag football. It will teach him the basics of the game without dealing with the constant hitting at a young age. When he gets to high school, he said he would let his son decide at that point if he wants to move up to tackle football.

I used to have the thought process of whatever. But having kids now, I think this is the way I'll go if he wants to play.
Why learn the game then if you will not play it the way it is meant.

So in other words, he will not be learning the game. Part of learning a game is taking the hit.
You can learn a lot about the game in flag football. Kids get the opportunity to learn many different positions and many of the skills that go along with them. Save the pads and collisions for middle to high school years.

 

*****

Footballguy
I am the father if three athletic and active young boys. They do soccer, basketball and baseball and, though I was indifferent, their mom did not want them playing football. I can say they have no shortage of dreams to chase or similarly excellent experiences focusing on those other sports.

I did not play growing up so I was not particularly invested in them playing football or not. But, I am okay with lowering their risk of cumulative head trauma and other lifetime injuries by channeling them to other athletic outlets.

 

Go DC Yourself

Footballguy
Actually heard an interesting perspective from Ike Reese (former Eagles LB) on local radio yesterday. He said he would not have his son play pop warner but he would have him play flag football. It will teach him the basics of the game without dealing with the constant hitting at a young age. When he gets to high school, he said he would let his son decide at that point if he wants to move up to tackle football.

I used to have the thought process of whatever. But having kids now, I think this is the way I'll go if he wants to play.
Why learn the game then if you will not play it the way it is meant.

So in other words, he will not be learning the game. Part of learning a game is taking the hit.
And the reason taking a hit can't be learned at a later age is what, exactly?

 

NCCommish

Footballguy
I am the father if three athletic and active young boys. They do soccer, basketball and baseball and, though I was indifferent, their mom did not want them playing football. I can say they have no shortage of dreams to chase or similarly excellent experiences focusing on those other sports.

I did not play growing up so I was not particularly invested in them playing football or not. But, I am okay with lowering their risk of cumulative head trauma and other lifetime injuries by channeling them to other athletic outlets.
You do realize lots of kids get concussions playing soccer right?

 

BassNBrew

IBL Representative
Actually heard an interesting perspective from Ike Reese (former Eagles LB) on local radio yesterday. He said he would not have his son play pop warner but he would have him play flag football. It will teach him the basics of the game without dealing with the constant hitting at a young age. When he gets to high school, he said he would let his son decide at that point if he wants to move up to tackle football.

I used to have the thought process of whatever. But having kids now, I think this is the way I'll go if he wants to play.
Why learn the game then if you will not play it the way it is meant.

So in other words, he will not be learning the game. Part of learning a game is taking the hit.
you are wrong about this at that age. you can improve skills at an early age, but taking a hit is less of a skill than figuring out how to put on your pads.

 

BassNBrew

IBL Representative
I am the father if three athletic and active young boys. They do soccer, basketball and baseball and, though I was indifferent, their mom did not want them playing football. I can say they have no shortage of dreams to chase or similarly excellent experiences focusing on those other sports.

I did not play growing up so I was not particularly invested in them playing football or not. But, I am okay with lowering their risk of cumulative head trauma and other lifetime injuries by channeling them to other athletic outlets.
You do realize lots of kids get concussions playing soccer right?
probably more. heading a soccer ball off of a goalies punt isn't much different than helmet to helmet. lots of kids missing games due to concussions and schools have adopted the testing program.

 

Insein

Footballguy
Actually heard an interesting perspective from Ike Reese (former Eagles LB) on local radio yesterday. He said he would not have his son play pop warner but he would have him play flag football. It will teach him the basics of the game without dealing with the constant hitting at a young age. When he gets to high school, he said he would let his son decide at that point if he wants to move up to tackle football.

I used to have the thought process of whatever. But having kids now, I think this is the way I'll go if he wants to play.
Why learn the game then if you will not play it the way it is meant.

So in other words, he will not be learning the game. Part of learning a game is taking the hit.
Meh not that worried about perceptions of tough guys. They're kids. Moren importantly its my kid. If he begged me to play tackle football I'd probably let him but if I'm signing him up to play then I'd do flag football until he's older.

 

Insein

Footballguy
The other thing is that there are only about 2300 players employed by the nfl in a given year. There are about 74 million kids in this country. Most are not going to play pro or college or even high school football.

 

vuduchile80

Footballguy
I'm wondering if the larger legal issues surrounding football related head trauma are yet to surface. The NFL's recent settlement seems like it could only be the tip of the iceberg.

What about former NCAA, High School or even youth football league players who suffer from similar Maladies? Concussions in practice and during games were fairly common in my day. "Getting your bell rung" also happened often.

Several of you have mentioned your own football related ailments in this thread, and you're not alone. Coaches, A.D.'s, Boosters, and trainers at all levels have witnessed these incidents for years while doing nothing to stop them.

Here's a real life scenario to consider:

A high school freshman QB was called up to practice and play with the varsity squad for the last 2 games of their season. The kid was 6'0" 160 lbs. On the first day of practice, he was inserted at QB for the scout team playing against the first string defense.

The coaches called for a pass play. The kid took the snap, dropped back, and immediately saw that none of his offensive linemen had attempted a block. He was crushed by 2 linemen and a linebacker. He got up with his bell rung and staggered back to the huddle.

The coaches next call was an option. The kid took the snap, ran to his right and pitched the ball to the tailback. He stood there for a split second, then realized that the same 3 defenders were on him again. They hammered him. He got off the ground, took 2 steps and fell over like a drunk. As he was being helped off the field by his older brother, he saw the coaches snickering and one of the players on the sidelines saying, "aw coach, that ain't right." He awoke in the school nurse's office just in time to catch the activities bus home where he sat in silence amongst a few of his teammates who were ashamed at what they'd witnessed earlier.

The next day, he was back at practice, and all his teammates made and held their blocks as best they could.

The kid went on to play for the same coaching staff for the next 3 years. On defense, he was nicknamed "the assassin" by an assistant coach who was a Jack Tatum fan. This coach encouraged the kid to hit hard and took pleasure when he knocked opposing players out of the game. The head coach would often rewind the game tape a few times to celebrate a vicious hit that hurt an opponent. This kid was skinny, and not that strong, but he could hit. He frequently led with his helmet, but was never called for spearing. His helmet was actually marked with the colors of opposing player's helmets and he wore those colors proudly. He experienced 4 more concussions in high school ,and countless instances of having his bell rung. The medical treatment he received consisted of some smelling salts, and a warning not to go to sleep.

He never played beyond the high school level, but looks back on those days as some of the best of his life. On those fields, he learned about teamwork, commitment, courage, leadership, and discipline. He took those life lessons with him into adulthood. Unfortunately, he also suffers from occasional migraines, anxiety, depression and panic attacks. All these ailments are an annoyance, but he manages to live with them at the age of 49.

He has 2 sons, ages 6 and 4. He plays football with them in the yard, watches games with them and often wonders if he'll let them play tackle football when the time comes. His current inclination is a resounding no.

 
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fbelange

Footballguy
I'm wondering if the larger legal issues surrounding football related head trauma are yet to surface. The NFL's recent settlement seems like it could only be the tip of the iceberg.

What about former NCAA, High School or even youth football league players who suffer from similar Maladies? Concussions in practice and during games were fairly common in my day. "Getting your bell rung" also happened often.

Several of you have mentioned your own football related ailments in this thread, and you're not alone. Coaches, A.D.'s, Boosters, and trainers at all levels have witnessed these incidents for years while doing nothing to stop them.

Here's a real life scenario to consider:

A high school freshman QB was called up to practice and play with the varsity squad for the last 2 games of their season. The kid was 6'0" 160 lbs. On the first day of practice, he was inserted at QB for the scout team playing against the first string defense.

The coaches called for a pass play. The kid took the snap, dropped back, and immediately saw that none of his offensive linemen had attempted a block. He was crushed by 2 linemen and a linebacker. He got up with his bell rung and staggered back to the huddle.

The coaches next call was an option. The kid took the snap, ran to his right and pitched the ball to the tailback. He stood there for a split second, then realized that the same 3 defenders were on him again. They hammered him. He got off the ground, took 2 steps and fell over like a drunk. As he was being helped off the field by his older brother, he saw the coaches snickering and one of the players on the sidelines saying, "aw coach, that ain't right." He awoke in the school nurse's office just in time to catch the activities bus home where he sat in silence amongst a few of his teammates who were ashamed at what they'd witnessed earlier.

The next day, he was back at practice, and all his teammates made and held their blocks as best they could.

The kid went on to play for the same coaching staff for the next 3 years. On defense, he was nicknamed "the assassin" by an assistant coach who was a Jack Tatum fan. This coach encouraged the kid to hit hard and took pleasure when he knocked opposing players out of the game. The head coach would often rewind the game tape a few times to celebrate a vicious hit that hurt an opponent. This kid was skinny, and not that strong, but he could hit. He frequently led with his helmet, but was never called for spearing. His helmet was actually marked with the colors of opposing player's helmets and he wore those colors proudly. He experienced 4 more concussions in high school ,and countless instances of having his bell rung. The medical treatment he received consisted of some smelling salts, and a warning not to go to sleep.

He never played beyond the high school level, but looks back on those days as some of the best of his life. On those fields, he learned about teamwork, commitment, courage, leadership, and discipline. He took those life lessons with him into adulthood. Unfortunately, he also suffers from occasional migraines, anxiety, depression and panic attacks. All these ailments are an annoyance, but he manages to live with them at the age of 49.

He has 2 sons, ages 6 and 4. He plays football with them in the yard, watches games with them and often wonders if he'll let them play tackle football when the time comes. His current inclination is a resounding no.
Sounds familiar. Except I never played QB

 

Insein

Footballguy
I'm wondering if the larger legal issues surrounding football related head trauma are yet to surface. The NFL's recent settlement seems like it could only be the tip of the iceberg.

What about former NCAA, High School or even youth football league players who suffer from similar Maladies? Concussions in practice and during games were fairly common in my day. "Getting your bell rung" also happened often.

Several of you have mentioned your own football related ailments in this thread, and you're not alone. Coaches, A.D.'s, Boosters, and trainers at all levels have witnessed these incidents for years while doing nothing to stop them.

Here's a real life scenario to consider:

A high school freshman QB was called up to practice and play with the varsity squad for the last 2 games of their season. The kid was 6'0" 160 lbs. On the first day of practice, he was inserted at QB for the scout team playing against the first string defense.

The coaches called for a pass play. The kid took the snap, dropped back, and immediately saw that none of his offensive linemen had attempted a block. He was crushed by 2 linemen and a linebacker. He got up with his bell rung and staggered back to the huddle.

The coaches next call was an option. The kid took the snap, ran to his right and pitched the ball to the tailback. He stood there for a split second, then realized that the same 3 defenders were on him again. They hammered him. He got off the ground, took 2 steps and fell over like a drunk. As he was being helped off the field by his older brother, he saw the coaches snickering and one of the players on the sidelines saying, "aw coach, that ain't right." He awoke in the school nurse's office just in time to catch the activities bus home where he sat in silence amongst a few of his teammates who were ashamed at what they'd witnessed earlier.

The next day, he was back at practice, and all his teammates made and held their blocks as best they could.

The kid went on to play for the same coaching staff for the next 3 years. On defense, he was nicknamed "the assassin" by an assistant coach who was a Jack Tatum fan. This coach encouraged the kid to hit hard and took pleasure when he knocked opposing players out of the game. The head coach would often rewind the game tape a few times to celebrate a vicious hit that hurt an opponent. This kid was skinny, and not that strong, but he could hit. He frequently led with his helmet, but was never called for spearing. His helmet was actually marked with the colors of opposing player's helmets and he wore those colors proudly. He experienced 4 more concussions in high school ,and countless instances of having his bell rung. The medical treatment he received consisted of some smelling salts, and a warning not to go to sleep.

He never played beyond the high school level, but looks back on those days as some of the best of his life. On those fields, he learned about teamwork, commitment, courage, leadership, and discipline. He took those life lessons with him into adulthood. Unfortunately, he also suffers from occasional migraines, anxiety, depression and panic attacks. All these ailments are an annoyance, but he manages to live with them at the age of 49.

He has 2 sons, ages 6 and 4. He plays football with them in the yard, watches games with them and often wonders if he'll let them play tackle football when the time comes. His current inclination is a resounding no.
The qb for my high school team when I played was moved to varsity as a sophomore. We ran a wishbone of all the antiquated nonsense that could have been run. So basically qb gets hit every play regardless. I think he literally had 4 diagnosed concussions in high school and who knows how many that weren't diagnosed. There was a game I remember where we went back to the huddle and he asked where we were. We told him and he was just like "really?" Scary thing thinking back but at the time you just laugh it off.

 

MoveToSkypager

Footballguy
I'm wondering if the larger legal issues surrounding football related head trauma are yet to surface. The NFL's recent settlement seems like it could only be the tip of the iceberg.

What about former NCAA, High School or even youth football league players who suffer from similar Maladies? Concussions in practice and during games were fairly common in my day. "Getting your bell rung" also happened often.

Several of you have mentioned your own football related ailments in this thread, and you're not alone. Coaches, A.D.'s, Boosters, and trainers at all levels have witnessed these incidents for years while doing nothing to stop them.

Here's a real life scenario to consider:

A high school freshman QB was called up to practice and play with the varsity squad for the last 2 games of their season. The kid was 6'0" 160 lbs. On the first day of practice, he was inserted at QB for the scout team playing against the first string defense.

The coaches called for a pass play. The kid took the snap, dropped back, and immediately saw that none of his offensive linemen had attempted a block. He was crushed by 2 linemen and a linebacker. He got up with his bell rung and staggered back to the huddle.

The coaches next call was an option. The kid took the snap, ran to his right and pitched the ball to the tailback. He stood there for a split second, then realized that the same 3 defenders were on him again. They hammered him. He got off the ground, took 2 steps and fell over like a drunk. As he was being helped off the field by his older brother, he saw the coaches snickering and one of the players on the sidelines saying, "aw coach, that ain't right." He awoke in the school nurse's office just in time to catch the activities bus home where he sat in silence amongst a few of his teammates who were ashamed at what they'd witnessed earlier.

The next day, he was back at practice, and all his teammates made and held their blocks as best they could.

The kid went on to play for the same coaching staff for the next 3 years. On defense, he was nicknamed "the assassin" by an assistant coach who was a Jack Tatum fan. This coach encouraged the kid to hit hard and took pleasure when he knocked opposing players out of the game. The head coach would often rewind the game tape a few times to celebrate a vicious hit that hurt an opponent. This kid was skinny, and not that strong, but he could hit. He frequently led with his helmet, but was never called for spearing. His helmet was actually marked with the colors of opposing player's helmets and he wore those colors proudly. He experienced 4 more concussions in high school ,and countless instances of having his bell rung. The medical treatment he received consisted of some smelling salts, and a warning not to go to sleep.

He never played beyond the high school level, but looks back on those days as some of the best of his life. On those fields, he learned about teamwork, commitment, courage, leadership, and discipline. He took those life lessons with him into adulthood. Unfortunately, he also suffers from occasional migraines, anxiety, depression and panic attacks. All these ailments are an annoyance, but he manages to live with them at the age of 49.

He has 2 sons, ages 6 and 4. He plays football with them in the yard, watches games with them and often wonders if he'll let them play tackle football when the time comes. His current inclination is a resounding no.
How do you know so much about this guy?

 

NCCommish

Footballguy
Go DC Yourself said:
Little kids football exists mainly for the parents enjoyment. There is little they learn at that age that can't be taught in junior and high school, where size and speed will likely win out over whatever edge was gained by having the kid play at 8. In fact, you'll have kids burned out by high school if they've been playing for 8 or so years.
Not true at all. We teach proper tackling. They learn gap reads. They learn how to play the game the right way. And we play 8 games a year with about a month and a half of twice a week practices. Nothing like what baseball nazis do to those kids with traveling teams and crap.

 

lod01

Footballguy
BusterTBronco said:
Go DC Yourself said:
Little kids football exists mainly for the parents enjoyment. There is little they learn at that age that can't be taught in junior and high school, where size and speed will likely win out over whatever edge was gained by having the kid play at 8. In fact, you'll have kids burned out by high school if they've been playing for 8 or so years.
I totally agree with you but would also note that participation in football is declining at the Jr. High and High School level as well. In my area, the Jr. High schools don't even have football teams anymore and several of the high schools barely have enough players to field a varsity team. Some have had to forfeit games. These are decent sized high schools with 1500+ students.
Supply them with a smart phone and you have your teams back. These little punks can't do anything nowadays without one of those in their hands.

 

Koya

Footballguy
I'm wondering if the larger legal issues surrounding football related head trauma are yet to surface. The NFL's recent settlement seems like it could only be the tip of the iceberg.

What about former NCAA, High School or even youth football league players who suffer from similar Maladies? Concussions in practice and during games were fairly common in my day. "Getting your bell rung" also happened often.

Several of you have mentioned your own football related ailments in this thread, and you're not alone. Coaches, A.D.'s, Boosters, and trainers at all levels have witnessed these incidents for years while doing nothing to stop them.

Here's a real life scenario to consider:

A high school freshman QB was called up to practice and play with the varsity squad for the last 2 games of their season. The kid was 6'0" 160 lbs. On the first day of practice, he was inserted at QB for the scout team playing against the first string defense.

The coaches called for a pass play. The kid took the snap, dropped back, and immediately saw that none of his offensive linemen had attempted a block. He was crushed by 2 linemen and a linebacker. He got up with his bell rung and staggered back to the huddle.

The coaches next call was an option. The kid took the snap, ran to his right and pitched the ball to the tailback. He stood there for a split second, then realized that the same 3 defenders were on him again. They hammered him. He got off the ground, took 2 steps and fell over like a drunk. As he was being helped off the field by his older brother, he saw the coaches snickering and one of the players on the sidelines saying, "aw coach, that ain't right." He awoke in the school nurse's office just in time to catch the activities bus home where he sat in silence amongst a few of his teammates who were ashamed at what they'd witnessed earlier.

The next day, he was back at practice, and all his teammates made and held their blocks as best they could.

The kid went on to play for the same coaching staff for the next 3 years. On defense, he was nicknamed "the assassin" by an assistant coach who was a Jack Tatum fan. This coach encouraged the kid to hit hard and took pleasure when he knocked opposing players out of the game. The head coach would often rewind the game tape a few times to celebrate a vicious hit that hurt an opponent. This kid was skinny, and not that strong, but he could hit. He frequently led with his helmet, but was never called for spearing. His helmet was actually marked with the colors of opposing player's helmets and he wore those colors proudly. He experienced 4 more concussions in high school ,and countless instances of having his bell rung. The medical treatment he received consisted of some smelling salts, and a warning not to go to sleep.

He never played beyond the high school level, but looks back on those days as some of the best of his life. On those fields, he learned about teamwork, commitment, courage, leadership, and discipline. He took those life lessons with him into adulthood. Unfortunately, he also suffers from occasional migraines, anxiety, depression and panic attacks. All these ailments are an annoyance, but he manages to live with them at the age of 49.

He has 2 sons, ages 6 and 4. He plays football with them in the yard, watches games with them and often wonders if he'll let them play tackle football when the time comes. His current inclination is a resounding no.
The qb for my high school team when I played was moved to varsity as a sophomore. We ran a wishbone of all the antiquated nonsense that could have been run. So basically qb gets hit every play regardless. I think he literally had 4 diagnosed concussions in high school and who knows how many that weren't diagnosed. There was a game I remember where we went back to the huddle and he asked where we were. We told him and he was just like "really?" Scary thing thinking back but at the time you just laugh it off.
Things have come a LONG way in just the past ten years regarding prevention and recognition. I played high school and a year of college (d3) ball in the late 80's early 90's.

I was NEVER diagnosed with a concussion. But I once landed on my head doing over the top drills, have neck issues to this day. Got back up, felt a little dizzy, continued practice.

On another occasion I got hit so hard during a game that I blacked out, albeit very briefly, and then started to jog, err stumble, to the opposing teams bench. My teammates had to grab me and get me to the correct sideline. DURING the play that followed came the Caldwell from the coach "KOYA (real name masked for protection of the guilty) - get your ### back in there"

This was a small school on Long Island. Hardly the hotbed of Friday night lights.. But it was how the game was played.

Just the recognition of these issues is a huge boost to safety today.

 

EBF

Footballguy
I think the popularity of football is at its peak right now. I get the sense that soccer is starting to gain traction in younger demographics, for a variety of reasons. The massive popularity of the FIFA video game series, the increased access to major European leagues on US television/Internet, and the fear over head trauma. I taught a class of college sophomores-seniors last year and was surprised to see students wearing Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal gear. They also talked about the NFL a lot, but soccer has gained a toehold in the mainstream and I think it will get bigger as people start to shy away from football. I think football will become a little bit like boxing or MMA in the sense that people will still enjoy watching it, but nobody from a decent socioeconomic background will be that excited about pursuing it. You can potentially make just as much money playing soccer overseas and there are actually a lot more professional opportunities.

I played flag football as a kid and tackle football all through high school. I had fun with it and was fortunate enough to never suffer any serious injuries. Partially because I was a mediocre player who didn't start and partially because our coaches were smart about the way they handled us. Very little full contact during practice. We were managed like a pro team and it worked really well. Only lost one game in our four years. I would not permit my sons from playing in high school, but I would push them towards basketball and soccer. You can still get injured in those sports, but I think they're fundamentally safer sports.

 

⚡DEADHEAD⚡

Footballguy
You may want your kid to play football, but does your wife want him to. (Personally, I don't want my son to play).

Go to the playground and what do you see? Kids with helments on as they ride a scooter, hang from the monkey bars, play on a jungle jim, even swing on a swing. And what else do you see? Moms everywhere.

Now my daughter does all that stuff without a helmet. And my son will too. My wife is not hypersensitive about this. Maybe I'm not a great dad in some people's eyes. But I don't mind the occasional small-but-supervised tumble. Helps establish boundaries and understanding of limitations.

So as we near a point when kids are getting helmets at the one-year-old birthday party, we actually are part of a larger change that will not serve football well.

That said, I completely agree that football will become even moreso a sport supported by the urban athlete because there is probably a lesser understanding of health risks, a limited ability to access helmets and other safety equipment, and a lesser degree of hypersensitivity to childhood injury, never mind an interest in tossing these issues aside in order to pursue elite athletics to get a college degree and possibly go pro,

 
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rockaction

Footballguy
I played organized football from 5 until 22... I remember Pop Warner as one of the happiest times of my childhood. With that being said, I have a little boy who is turning one in two weeks. My son is gargantuan, he is the size of an average 2 year old (I stand 6'3, my wife is 5'11) - My wife and I were both athletes so odds are in his favor.

With all of that, I am not letting him play football - I don't care if he is 6'6 270 running a 4.4 when he is 16, he will not have my consent... Walking around in constant pain is no way to live, & I know quite a few people besides me that do.
I wanted to play football so badly when I was a kid, and my father did the same. As soon as I went away to a boarding school and freed myself from my rural, middle class CT town that only had soccer -- and where soccer ruled the day -- I immediately started playing football. I promptly tore apart my ankle running a WR pattern in practice, which ruined my hockey year, and any recruitment thereof. Ugh. Looking back, I feel bad for Pops, who was much wiser than I.

 

agame2323

Footballguy
As long as there are poor kids looking for a way out, there will be football.
Why are so many suddenly positioning football as something that is geared or designed for "urban" youth? Youth football is played the same all over. There are city teams and teams from the suburbs in Youth Football. If we are talking about who the superior athletes are, then yes, more superior athletes tend to come from urban environments (IMO). But the sport of American Football is the same no matter where you go. A team in inner city Chicago plays the game just as a team in "Small town USA" would play.

The sport isn't going anywhere because (outside of Basketball and maybe Soccer) American football is the only sport the caters to the superior athlete and brings in a large audience. But football isn't dominated by "poor kids looking for a way out." There are plenty of poor kids who can't run fast or jump high. Football is dominated by extremely gifted athletes and as long as THEY exist, there will always be football.

 
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Warrior

Footballguy
Koya said:
The NFL will not be king forever. When will the decline begin? Will it be related to necessary changes in the game due to head injuries? Will the decline of youth participation due to the same be the cause? Cultural shifts? The growing wave of Latino immigration and changes in preferences?

Who knows... But it will happen at some point.

That said, baseball used to be king. The national pastime. What the country listened to, collectively on radio and watched on the Game of the Week. It began to give way. Less youth participation. The game became "too slow" - and even so, aren't they hitting record revenues and near or at record attendance?

So things ebb and flow, but it's not a simple delineative line that head injuries lead to less youth leads to less dollars in the game at the pro level. Not that simple, at least
Corny pop theme songs for Thurs football, 4-minute commercials every 3 minutes of playing time, advertisements on jerseys are next. The "Washington Coca Colas" will be leading the NFC east in a few years.

The NFL is on the ramp, just about to clear the shark before crashing down.

Sad really.

 

Apple Jack

Footballguy
All this (justifiable) concussion hysteria is still relatively new and the rule changes to address it have relatively recently implemented. It's logical that there would be an immediate impact on participation when parents are being swarmed with talk in the media about how dangerous football is.

 

cstu

Footballguy
As long as there are poor kids looking for a way out, there will be football.
Why are so many suddenly positioning football as something that is geared or designed for "urban" youth? Youth football is played the same all over. There are city teams and teams from the suburbs in Youth Football. If we are talking about who the superior athletes are, then yes, more superior athletes tend to come from urban environments (IMO). But the sport of American Football is the same no matter where you go. A team in inner city Chicago plays the game just as a team in "Small town USA" would play.

The sport isn't going anywhere because (outside of Basketball and maybe Soccer) American football is the only sport the caters to the superior athlete and brings in a large audience. But football isn't dominated by "poor kids looking for a way out." There are plenty of poor kids who can't run fast or jump high. Football is dominated by extremely gifted athletes and as long as THEY exist, there will always be football.
:goodposting:

 

agame2323

Footballguy
As long as there are poor kids looking for a way out, there will be football.
Why are so many suddenly positioning football as something that is geared or designed for "urban" youth?
I never said "urban", I said "poor". There is a difference.
Joe... maybe you didn't read my post all the way through. Regarding "poor" ... I said....But football isn't dominated by "poor kids looking for a way out." There are plenty of poor kids who can't run fast or jump high. Football is dominated by extremely gifted athletes and as long as THEY exist, there will always be football.

 
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