Context: Nearly 44 million youth participate in organized youth sports programs in the United States (US). However, approximately 25% of parents have considered removing their children from sports due to fear of concussion.
Objective: To determine which adult decision-making modifiers (e.g., gender, educational attainment, career type, etc.) influence support for youth contact sports participation.
Design: Survey research.
Setting: Midwestern university and medical center.
Patients or Other Participants: Convenience sample of staff and faculty (N=5761; 73.9% female) from 2017–2018.
Main Outcome Measures: Support of youth contact sports participation using multivariate binary logistic regression to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals.
Results: The sample was split between adults with children (AWC; n=3465, age=45.39±13.27 years, 76.72% female) and adults without children (AWOC; n=2296, age=30.84±9.01 years, 70.26% female). Among AWC, those who obtained a Bachelor's degree or higher were more likely to support contact sports participation. Females were more inclined to allow all contact sports, specifically football (2.22; CI=1.64,3.01) and ice hockey (1.98; CI=1.42,2.78). Overall, previous adult sport participation, increasing number of children, and child gender were significant modifying variables in greater support of youth contact sports participation amongst AWC (p's<.001). In AWOC, previous sports participation in football (3.27; CI=2.14,4.87), ice hockey (4.26; CI=2.23,8.17), and soccer (2.29; CI=1.48,3.54) increased the likelihood of an adult supporting contact sports participation. Lastly, all adults were less inclined to support a daughter to participate in any contact sport compared to a son.
Conclusions: These results unveil adult and child-specific variables which may influence youth contact sports participation. These decisions may be developed through the lens of certain gender role beliefs and may lead adults to perceive certain sports to be appropriate for sons compared to daughters.