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90% of dads who suffered football-related concussions want their kids to play tackle football; 43% of football player dads say there’s too much hype over concussions

October 9, 2012 (Tampa Bay, Florida) -- Despite increasing awareness about concussion dangers for young athletes, a new national survey reveals 90% of men who played tackle football at the high school level or higher who suffered or suspected they suffered a concussion want their sons to play tackle football.  Not only that, nearly half (43%) believe there is too much hype over concussions.

Of all football-playing dads polled, 77% say tackle football is safe for children under age 12 even though more than 3 in 5 of these dads suffered a concussion themselves during their playing days.  And even more surprising, dads say most moms (61%) agree with them that tackle football is safe for young athletes.  

The survey of 300 dads who played tackle football at the high school level or higher, was commissioned by the non-profit arm of i9 Sports, the nation’s first and fastest growing youth sports franchise.

  •   53% of football dads  say kids who play tackle sometimes think getting a concussion “is cool”, or “ a status symbol” that means you are “tough and play hard.”
  •   More than 1 in 3 football dads (36%) say their son’s competitive youth sports coach (any sport) is more interested in a win over safe play.
  •   Almost 1 in 5 football dads (19%) say despite concussion awareness, there have been no noticeable changes to the policies and procedures of youth sports.  

“The startling results of this survey show even though concussion awareness is permeating youth sports today, often parents, young players and even coaches don’t heed the warnings,” says Brian Sanders, COO and President of i9 Sports, which has more than 550,000 members at 275 locations across the country. “It’s scary to us that dads who suffered concussions encourage their young sons to play tackle football at a young age. Studies show a concussion can be more dangerous for young athletes because their brains are still developing. Still these young athletes perceive concussions as a ‘cool status symbol.’  Concussion safety is a top priority at i9 Sports which is why we recommend flag football until high school.” 

In other survey findings:

  • More than three in five football dads (61%) say they and their son’s mom AGREE that tackle football IS safe and the right choice for their son.
  • More than 1/3 of football dads (36%) say youth athletes don’t understand concussion dangers and don’t take precautions.
  • Almost 1/3 of football dads (31%) say coaches understand concussion dangers but don’t take precautions.


  • i9 Sports Leagues play flag football – NO TACKLE. because they don’t want their kids playing tackle football at a young age. (Brad Culpepper, Eddie Mason and Morten Andersen)Former and current NFL coaches and players have/had their children playing i9 Sports
  • “When in Doubt, Sit Them Out” Policy An athlete in i9 Sports who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury will be removed from the practice or game immediately and will not be allowed to return to play without written clearance from a licensed health care provider.   (i9 Sports was one of the first national organizations to enforce this policy, but it has since been passed as law in 39 states with 6 more pending.
  • Leading the industry again, i9 Sports added a Concussions Safety Information page to the online registration process that parents must read and sign.   Concussion safety information is also included in guides for coaches and officials.

*This online survey was done by a third party and commissioned by the nonprofit arm of 

i9 Sports, i9 Sports Association. Survey participants had no affiliation with i9 Sports.

*The survey included 300 respondents, all dads who played football at the high school level or higher with son(s) ages 8 – 14.


  • Football leads all sports in the occurrence of concussions among children and youth ages 5-18. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, emergency room visits for concussions sustained in organized team sports doubled among kids ages 8-13 between 1997 and 2007.*  
  • Approximately 3.5 million American children 6-14 play tackle football, even though it is, as described in a 2009 article in Pediatric Radiology,  one of " the most hazardous organized sports in the U.S.”**
  • It’s estimated that there are between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States every year, leading The Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C.) to conclude that sports concussions in the United States have reached an "epidemic level." ***
  • Children who are seen in a hospital emergency room for a head injury, concussion, skull fracture or intracranial injury) are more than twice as likely to sustain a subsequent head injury of similar type within 12 months as are children seeking care for an injury not related to the head, regardless of their age. ****
  • Researchers believe young athletes may be more vulnerable than adults to lasting damage from head injuries because their brains are still developing. Several states have adopted or are considering tougher limits on when athletes can resume play after a concussion, as have some schools, amateur leagues and the NFL. *****
  • Researchers found that some head impacts in youth football . “Nobody expected to see hits of this magnitude,” said Stefan Duma, lead researcher and head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering in Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering. ******These are equal in force to some of the bigger hits seen at the college level. And 3.5 million kids ages 6-13 play tackle football, compared to just 2,000 NFL players.

* Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics

** Pediatric Radiology

*** CDC

****The American Journal of Sports Medicine

***** American Academy of Pediatrics

******Center for Injury Biomechanics, Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University

Study sponsor i9 Sports Foundation says flag football is a safer alternative due to concussions’ impacts on kids’ developing brains

About i9 Sports®

Based in the Tampa Bay, Florida area, i9 Sports® is the first and fastest-growing youth sports franchise company in the United States. With more than 550,000 members from New York to Hawaii, i9 Sports offers leagues, camps, and clinics for boys and girls ages 3-14 in today’s most popular team sports such as flag football, soccer, basketball and t-ball.

A privately held company, i9 Sports was founded in 2003 by CEO Frank Fiume on the principle that the number one reason kids play organized sports is to have fun, not to become a draft pick.  Reinventing the industry, customers enjoy the i9 Sports Experience which emphasizes fun, safety and convenience as well as teaching the value of good sportsmanship. 

Named #1 Children’s Fitness Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine, i9 Sports has been ranked in their prestigious Franchise 500® issue the past five years most recently at #213. i9 Sports has also been listed among INC Magazine’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies for the past three years and received Franchise Business Review’s Top 50 in Franchise Satisfaction Award for four years in a row. 

For more information on i9 Sports, visit

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