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Americans concerned about football head injuries; Want tackling limits

“I wouldn’t. And my whole life was football,” Ditka said on the HBO show Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. “I think the risk is worse than the reward. I really do.”

But, the HealthDay/Harris Poll also found that Americans think football players know the score when it comes to the threat of concussions and brain injury, and participate at their own risk. About 83 percent of the public — and nine in 10 football fans — agree that the risks of playing football are widely known, and that players have accepted those risks.

When poll participants were asked who should be held at least somewhat responsible for football players’ well-being on the field:

  • 81 percent point to the players themselves.
  • 71 percent point to the coaches.
  • 62 percent say team owners.
  • 56 percent cite the sport’s governing body.
  • 43 percent say schools.

“Despite obvious public concern over these types of injuries, there is also a prevailing sentiment that players know what they’re getting into and are responsible for their own well-being, over and above any other party,” said Larry Shannon-Missal, managing editor at The Harris Poll.

A huge majority of Americans believes that helmets should be changed to better protect players against concussions, including 86 percent of the general public and 92 percent of football fans.

But that opinion is based on a misconception, Rice said.

“Helmets have never, ever been able to prevent concussion,” he said. “They’re fabulous at preventing skull fractures and scalp lacerations, but they do not do anything that anyone has ever successfully measured to prevent concussions.”

The HealthDay/Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between Nov. 23-25, 2015 among 2,096 adults aged 18 and older. Figures for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted, where necessary, to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. “Propensity score weighting” was also used to adjust for respondents’ likelihood to be online.

By Dennis Thompson, HealthDay



Copyright © 2015 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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