Poll: Many parents say they would discourage kids from playing football

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- As we move into Super Bowl weekend, a new poll shows that more and more parents across the country say they would discourage their kids from playing football.

According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 40 percent of American adults, and 37 percent of parents, would encourage their child to play a sport other than football because of concerns about concussions.

But, nearly 60 percent of respondents in the poll - and 62 percent of parents -said they wouldn't discourage their children from playing football.

The findings come amid discussion whether the NFL has take enough "meaningful action to reduce and prevent" concussions or provide care for players who suffer brain injuries.

For decades, professional football has arguably been the country's most popular sport. And the Super Bowl is the most-watched event on television every year.

But questions about safety have plagued the NFL in recent years, after studies suggested a link between concussions and brain-related disease and illness.

The NFL has taken steps to make the game safer and limit concussions, setting new rules to protect players and limit some of the worst helmet-to-helmet collisions. The NFL is also funding research into  brain injuries, and has launched a program to promote player safety in youth football leagues across the country.

League officials announced Thursday that concussions in the current season are down 13 percent from last year, and that concussions resulting from helmet-to-helmet hits are down 23 percent.