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No Game for Boys to PlayThe History of Youth Football and the Origins of a Public Health Crisis$
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Kathleen Bachynski

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653709

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653709.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

The Duty of Their Elders

The Duty of Their Elders

Doctors, Coaches, and Safety Expertise, 1950s–1960s

(p.73) Chapter Four The Duty of Their Elders
No Game for Boys to Play

Kathleen Bachynski

University of North Carolina Press

After World War II, as the subspecialties of injury prevention and sports medicine developed, doctors and coaches sought to establish their authority on matters of youth football safety. The framing of football safety knowledge was gendered. Not only were sports doctors and coaches almost exclusively men, but particularly in the absence of epidemiological data, their experiential knowledge of sports was valued as a key element of safety expertise. Doctors and coaches particularly emphasized adult supervision—in other words, their own professional involvement in the sport— as essential to protecting players. As sports medicine developed as a sub-specialty, the more favorable attitudes of team physicians toward competitive youth sports increasingly diverged from the more cautious recommendations of pediatricians and educators. The tension between promoting football and studying its risks influenced how many doctors and coaches conceived of the sport’s dangers and constrained the solutions they proposed.

Keywords:   Coaches, Doctors, Authority, Gender, Tension, Injury prevention, Safety, Sports medicine, Supervision, Youth sports

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