Football has been an American pastime for decades. From high school football games to the Super Bowl, there are many ways people bond over the sport. However, some reports suggest football could become a relic of the past. There has been a drastic increase in the number of parents who do not allow their kids to engage in the sport.

In a poll conducted in 2016, around 44 percent of adults with children under the age of 18 were not likely to allow their kids to play the sport. In 2013, that number was only 8 percent. The reason many parents seem to be reluctant to allow their kids to play football is that it is an extremely physical sport, and there is a high risk of players experiencing traumatic brain injuries.

High risk of concussion

There are numerous contact sports, including lacrosse, wrestling and hockey, where children are open to severe injuries to the head. With all that considered, football is the sport high schoolers are most likely to play and the one where the injuries can be most severe.

Parents concerned about teenagers’ risk of concussions should speak with the schools’ athletic departments. They should ask about whether the coach has the training to handle traumatic brain injuries should they arise. A coach should ensure no athlete continues to play after experiencing an injury.

Damage to the brain itself

The brain is a unique organ for many reasons, but one quality that sets it apart is the fact it cannot replenish neurons. Many organs have the ability to repair themselves if injured. People are born with a set number of neurons. The brain will never make more, and if someone loses neurons, then he or she will never get them back.

The question society should ask itself is whether kids should continue to play dangerous sports with this new knowledge. The research is out there, and parents need to do what they believe is best for their children.