Despite many benefits, participation in youth football has declined, with many blaming concussion risk. While there is risk, not participating in youth football leads to missing out on the sport's physical, social, and psychological benefits. Understanding the reasons behind the decline in football participation is important to reversing the trend. The goals of this study were to understand parents' intentions to allow their children to participate in organized football and to create a theoretical platform from which interventions may be implemented to promote participation. Based on research in related areas, we proposed and tested an augmented Theory of Planned Behavior with parents of youth-football-age children (n = 497). We found the hypothesized model accounted for over half the variance in intention to allow football participation (R2 = .58), and that four factors predict a parent's intention to let his or her child play football: social norms, attitudes toward youth football participation, behavioral control, and the perceived risk of concussion. This study helps better explain parents' decisions regarding youth football participation. These findings provide a promising theoretical platform for new interventions that can promote continued youth football participation.
- Sport psychology
- Youth sports