BACKGROUND:

In ice hockey and soccer, age restrictions exist for body checking and heading because of injury risk. There are currently no age restrictions for tackling in youth football.

METHODS:

We surveyed a nationally representative sample of US parents regarding their support for age restrictions on tackling in football with responses of “yes,” “no,” and “maybe.” We then generated regression models, attempting to predict support for age restrictions in tackling using demographic variables, parent perceptions of the risk of concussion in youth football, and the intensity of football support. All analyses were stratified by sex given effect modification.

RESULTS:

There were 1025 parents who completed the survey (52% response rate; 56% female sex). The majority (61%) supported age restrictions for tackling, and an additional 24% indicated they maybe would support age restrictions. For female respondents, a greater perceived risk of tackle football (odds ratio [OR] 3.83; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06–13.83) and greater educational attainment (OR 3.97; 95% CI 1.61–9.80) were associated with greater odds of supporting age restrictions for tackling. For male respondents, having a child 6 to 12 years old was associated with greater odds of maybe supporting age restrictions for tackling (OR 2.34; 95% CI 1.19–4.62).

CONCLUSIONS:

A majority of US parents across sexes would support age restrictions for tackling in football. This information should inform discussions when guidelines about tackling in youth football are revisited.

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