Fewer students play football amid concussion fears, study says

Opening Night for High School Football is August 17. The tradition of Friday Night Lights goes back decades.

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But, studies show fewer players are going out for the sport these days. Experts blame a growing fear of traumatic brain injury from concussions.

Munford football mom, Nani Swayze , told FOX13 “It scares me a lot because I’ve seen kids taken off (the field) in an ambulance and they stagger off the field.”

Concussion management group, Head Case Company, shares numbers they say show high school football accounts for nearly half of all sports-related concussions.

They break down the top five sports for head injuries. According to their numbers, Football has up to 76.8 percent per 100,000.

Ice Hockey is in second place. Both boys and girls lacrosse take the #3 and #4 spots, followed by girls soccer.

Campbell Clinic Doctor John Hyden treats concussions in athletes from middle school up to the pros.

He also played high school football and played college soccer. But, he doesn’t play when it comes to the danger of head injuries.

He said, “the ones that we're seeing having more issues are ones that started playing tackle football at a younger age. They're having more of subconcussive events. "

Dr. Hyden recommends children stay away from tackle football until, at least, middle school. We asked him exactly what age: "twelve or thirteen."

​FOX13 talked to a lot of parents about the potential dangers of playing football. People love this game. Most parents tell us they are aware of the risks but they say the rewards far outweigh the potential danger. "

Football Mom Dionne Manning said, "No, it doesn't worry me because guess what...we can get in the car and have a car accident."

Jerrick White’s son started playing at age 7. He said, "It's a physical sport. Injuries happen but luckily with good coaching and good fundamentals in order to keep the kids safe.

Bartlett Defensive Coach Chester Ford said football “saved my life.”

He sees it every day with his players, “They become accountable and responsible and that’s what football does.”

Dionne Manning agrees, "it teaches them on and off the field to work as a team and work together. 
Weigh the risks, and make sure you know the signs and symptoms of a concussion. 
Here are some links for more information on what to look for:

States on concussions
Concussion Resources