Perspective from Joseph D. Smucker, MD
Perspective from Toufic R. Jildeh, MD
May 23, 2019
1 min read

Orthopedic surgeons weigh in on NFL ‘myths’ vs ‘facts’ about youth football injuries

Perspective from Joseph D. Smucker, MD
Perspective from Toufic R. Jildeh, MD
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Troy Vincent Sr., the executive vice president of football operations at the National Football League, recently posted five “myths” about youth football and related injuries, as well as “facts” to debunk each myth, on his Facebook page. The document has come under fire in some circles because it has been said the league’s sole intent in issuing it is to refute some of the beliefs that playing tackle football at the high school and lower levels is unsafe.

The list of myths/facts also appears on the youth football section of the NFL website.

The five myths listed in the document that Vincent posted May 7, which were each followed by a fact or facts, are as follows:

The risk of injury with youth football is higher than any other sport;

There are long-term mental health and cognitive function [e]ffects of playing tackle football during high school;

There are long-term brain injury [e]ffects of playing tackle football before high school;

High school football injuries are at an all[-]time high; and

Football players don’t do well in school.

The facts are one sentence each and include statistics and citations from independent and published studies that are meant to be counterarguments to the myths.

Mark Brunell and Chad Pennington, who are members of the NFL Youth Advisory Committee, said in a statement at the NFL website, “As legends, we know how great the game of football is. Many of us have fond memories of playing football in our youth. However, youth football is under attack. As high school football coaches, Chad and I are seeing fewer kids playing tackle football because of misconceptions about our sport. As keepers of the game, we must equip ourselves with the correct information supported by good science to protect our great game. Check out these ‘Myths vs. Facts.’ You might be surprised by what you read!”

Read perspectives on the issues raised that received from orthopedic surgeons whose backgrounds include spine, trauma and concussion clinical and research experience. – by Susan M. Rapp