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USA Football letter to Washington Post

By Scott Hallenbeck, USA Football Executive Director Fri, 11/16/2012 - 12:16pm


Expert doctors and scientists in sport concussion state that youth football, when played with a comprehensive approach of coaching education, concussion management and proper equipment fitting, is an acceptable sport for our kids. With direction from USA Football, youth football is safer today than ever before in its 80-plus year history.

In The Post’s Nov. 14 edition, columnist Mike Wise failed to report that while top concussion doctors agree with continuing efforts to make sports safer, there is no consensus on setting a fixed age for when our kids should be allowed to play football. Mr. Wise cited one expert who believes age 14 is best to begin the game. While an expert panel at the recent Fourth International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport in Zurich spoke of ways to help manage head injuries in youth sports, not one panel member endorsed the idea to ban tackling until age 14.

Mr. Wise also regrettably opined that youth football organizers, including those employing USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, which includes all aforementioned elements of a safer, better game with guidance from the CDC, are in youth football for financial gain. This is an irresponsible attack on nonprofit organizations like ours. We should all be committed to make sports safer for our children –progress has been made and we must advance it.


Scott Hallenbeck

Executive Director

USA Football

45 North Pennsylvania St., #700

Indianapolis, IN 46204