With the upcoming Super Bowl between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots this weekend, football is a hot topic around the U.S. One key issue for the sport is risk related to head injuries, particularly concerns with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain condition stemming from repeated blows to the head.
In a football-intensive state like Texas, parents face the often challenging decision of whether to allow their children to play tackle football. This led recent Master's graduate and current adjunct professor Rebecca "Becca" Boneau to research how parents navigate this important decision.
Becca (M.A., 2018), along with co-authors Dr. Brian Richardson and Dr. Joseph McGlynn, recently learned their study, "'We are a football family': Making sense of parents' decisions to allow their children to play tackle football" would be published in Communication and Sport journal. The study is linked here:
The article addresses how parents made sense of their decisions to allow their middle school-aged children to play tackle football. Boneau and her co-authors ultimately categorized parents into one of three types: football-first families, safety-first families, and laissez faire families. The authors go on to suggest that the type of family was associated with how the parents handled the football-participation decision.
"It is my hope that this study enlightens parents, administrators, coaches, and athletes to the factors involved in and implications of their child's participation in tackle football," Becca said.
Becca's interest in how parents make collective decisions sparked from her own children playing sports. The current discourse around the concern of head contact in football furthered her curiosity on the subject.
Becca recognizes that the study can be improved to incorporate a wider variety of results. She hopes to one day continue the study in order to obtain information about a more diverse group of families.