Fewer kids playing football due to safety concerns, leaving teams struggling to fill rosters

FLINT (WJRT) (10/08/19) - As coach and owner of the Flint Lions, Derrick Coleman has been involved in youth football for nearly a decade.

"I started as a parent, 9 years ago," he said.

But long before that, Coleman was one of those kids he now coaches.

"My mother, she signed me up in boxing and we just kind of played with all different types of sports, but I kind of liked it playing football," Coleman said.

But times have changed since Coleman first tackled the sport. A recent poll by Bloomberg Politics found that half of Americans say they wouldn't want their child to play football.

"I think a lot of parents are saying well, I'm kind of timid on bringing my child out there because I don't want to break his arm, break his neck, get that concussion, so they gravitate towards other sports, basketball and things like that," Coleman said.

New research from University of Washington Medicine's Sports Health and Safety Institute found five out every 100 youth football players ages 5 to 14 -- or 5 percent -- has sustained a football-related concussion each season.

That may be causing some schools to reconsider playing the game at all.

Coleman believes kids are getting hurt due to poor coaching. That si something he said can be corrected to make football the game of choice once again.

"Before you end up learning a play you got to know how to take a tackle and you've got to know how to make a tackle, because that's what's going to save your life out there," Coleman said.

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