Date Presented

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Sport Management

First Advisor

Lindsay Pieper, PhD

Second Advisor

Danny Hedrick, PhD

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Savage, PhD


In this paper I will look at the statistics and likelihood of brain damage occurring in children who participate in full contact football, using a 2017 study done by Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center, where former football players were tested for the effects of sustained trauma they first received from playing tackle football at a young age. This paper seeks to explain why participation in youth tackle football is still so high despite studies from Boston University and others like it. This paper incorporates interviews from coaches and directors of youth football elaborating on their opinions of young children’s participation in full contact youth football. These arguments will be supplemented by secondary sources from medical professionals and former players to get their perspectives on their perceived dangers of contact football and the precautions they take to reduce these risks. Primary data comes from phone and email interviews of ten current coaches and directors involved with youth football. The respondents were asked about what benefits they believe youth tackle football provides as well as their concussion knowledge and injury concern. Key themes will be taken from the interviews and will be combined with secondary data to understand what benefits are believed to be associated with youth tackle football. Using these themes I will attempt to explain why participation in youth tackle football is encouraged by some despite rising concerns about concussions and traumatic head injuries.