from the American Spectator:
Football Is Good for Kids, Propaganda Is Not
Keep those Friday Night Lights on, unless you want America’s youth to grow up less healthy and more risk averse.
Americans watch more NFL this season after several years of ratings decline. While couches and seats fill, fields go empty. For the first time in 30 years, high school sports witnessed a participation drop last year, with football’s loss of 31,000 athletes primarily fueling the decline. Youth football more glaringly experiences a participation freefall.
Blame a cultural tic masquerading as a public health crusade. Consider a recent Concussion Legacy Foundation advertisement depicting youth football players smoking cigarettes after a game. “Tackle football is like smoking,” the ad claims in a child’s voiceover. “The younger I start, the longer I’m exposed to danger.”
Two players out of more than four million competing last season died from a football hit (the CDC attributes nearly 500,000 U.S. deaths annually to smoking). Fifty seasons prior, 36 died from collisions. Football did not become more dangerous. Society became more phobic about risk. And for whatever reason, far deadlier activities — skiing, skateboard, bicycling, climbing — avoid notice from do-gooders. Like media scare stories from killer bees to SARS to beach shark attacks, the war on football relies on a fact-challenged narrative to scare Americans.
Scientific journals tell a different story about football than newspapers and magazines.