(SP) – A new study released today found that youth participation in football has dropped 21% from its high levels of 2008, as a growing number of American parents are openly expressing fears that their sons could develop into a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.
“The is no longer a blip. Participation rates among children ages 5-18 are down sharply, and we now know the exact reason why,” said Shonda McFee, a Princeton researcher who led the study. “More than 79% of American parents say they are ‘concerned’ or ‘extremely concerned’ that if they let their son play football, he could play for the Browns or — even worse — play quarterback for the Browns.”
While parents have long seen football as valuable physical activity that could teach hard work and teamwork and potentially even lead to college scholarships or a professional career, more and more believe the risk of ending up a Browns quarterback is too great to allow their children to play the sport.
“I know it’s one in maybe a hundred million that your son plays football, makes it to college, plays quarterback and then gets drafted by the Browns, one of 32 NFL teams, but that’s not something I would wish on my worst enemy — let alone my own flesh and blood,” said one father who participated in the study. “I just can’t do it. If he played for the Browns, I’d want him to suffer multiple concussions so he’d forget it forever. That’s the only way he could have a happy life.”