A pediatrician is asked by her local school board to help them decide whether to discontinue their high school football program. She reviews the available evidence on the risks of football and finds it hopelessly contradictory. Some scholars claim that football is clearly more dangerous than other sports. Others suggest that the risks of football are comparable to other sports, such as lacrosse, ice hockey, or soccer. She finds very little data on the long-term sequelae of concussions. She sees claims that good coaching and a school culture that prioritizes the health of athletes over winning can reduce morbidity from sports injuries. In this paper, 3 experts also review the evidence about sports risks and discuss what is known and not known about the science and the ethics of high school football.
- Accepted August 5, 2016.
- Copyright © 2017 by the American Academy of Pediatrics