Input sought from Virginians in national survey about participation in and perception of high school football

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia High School League (VHSL), in conjunction with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), is encouraging participation from current and former high school football coaches, players, officials, school athletic directors and parents in a nationwide survey that will focus on participation and perception trends in football.

The goal is for the NFHS to gain a better understanding of the participation and perception trends in the high school football community.

Football at all levels has come under scrutiny in recent years over the handling of concussions and traumatic brain injuries suffered by athletes on the field. A 2019 survey on the perceptions and reality of youth tackle football cited said that there’s a significant gap between perceived risk of concussion and actual concussions reported. It reports that the concussion rate in youth tackle football is lower than what parents perceive, stating that concussions occur in 3%-5% of players per season. Additionally, the concussion rate is similar to the rates in other contact sports like soccer, ice hockey, lacrosse and flag football.

The research noted that the risk of concussion in football is lowest when players are less than 12 or 13 years old, saying the rates of overall injury and concussion increases as players get older and mature.

Currently, Virginia law says each school division will need to update their concussion management policies every other year.

These policies are based on NFHS guidelines that are meant to serve as a framework for what each school division has in place.

Chesterfield, Henrico, City of Richmond and Hanover, the four largest school systems in the area, all have policies that detail what a concussion is, how to identify a concussion, and a roadmap for that athlete to return to practice and then game situations.

Once the NFHS receives the data from UpMetrics, it will be available on a state platform June 25. The deadline for survey participation is June 18.

If you wish to fill out a survey, you can go can fill one out below:

Football Participation Survey (Student)

Football Participation Survey (Parent)

Football Participation Survey (Coach/Athletic Director)

Football Participation Survey (Official)

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