Is Football Nearing a Cultural Crossroads as Concussions Grow? (NBC News)

NBC_News_2013_logoFootball, the game that sacked baseball as the national pastime, may not exist as we know it in 10 years — as evidence mounts that brain damage from big hits has infected the sport from the NFL all the way down to youth leagues, experts assert.

The pipeline of future players is shrinking. High school football participation has dropped by nearly 2 percent since 2008-09. The number of Pop Warner players — who can start playing at age 5 — decreased by almost 10 percent between 2010 and 2012, ESPN has reported.

Some adults, including retired NFL stars Troy Aikman, Brett Favre and Bart Scott, question whether boys should play the game due to the head-injury risks. President Obama has said, if he had a son, he’d “have to think long and hard” before allowing him to play football.

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