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Poll: 40 percent of Americans support ban on tackle football before high school

(Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images) Participation in youth contact football has declined 9.5 percent since 2010. (Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)

More than 40 percent of 1,003 American adults surveyed said they support a ban on youth contact football before high school, according to polling conducted by Robert Morris University.

The nationwide survey, which ran from Oct. 23 until Nov. 1, sampled proportional to state population.

While 40.5 percent of respondents said they support a ban on youth contact football, 48.4 percent were opposed to a ban and 11.1 percent said they were unsure. But an even greater percentage, 47.6, said they support a ban on youth contact football prior to middle school.

Of males surveyed who played contact football, 38.2 percent supported a ban prior to high school and 44.3 before middle school.

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“It’s encouraging that the general public finds the issue of children’s health in sports to be important," said Samantha Monda, sports psychologist at Robert Morris University. "In order to reduce the incidence and severity of concussions, an attitude shift is necessary among those involved in youth sports. We need to continue to educate athletes, parents, coaches, and fans about the effects of concussions and raise awareness of best practices for prevention."

This study comes after one by HBO Real Sports and Marist University that found one-third of Americans are less likely to let their son play football because of head injury risk, and after it was reported that youth football participation has dropped 9.5 percent since 2010.

“The research is rapidly evolving, but we know that brains are particularly vulnerable during childhood and adolescence," Monda said. "Minimizing the exposure to contact, training coaches about concussion prevention and management, and teaching players to use proper technique and adhere to the rules are all strategies to help improve player safety."
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