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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

It’s All We’ve Got

It’s All We’ve Got

Community, Education, and Youth Football

(p.159) Chapter Eight It’s All We’ve Got
No Game for Boys to Play

Kathleen Bachynski

University of North Carolina Press

Increased media coverage of college and professional college shaped beliefs about the benefits and risks of youth football. The importance attributed to high school football in schools and communities contributed to the expansion of football at the little league level. Football among elementary and middle school children increasingly served as a feeder system for the high school level of play. In addition, the appeal of future access to social and financial resources, including the hope of landing a college football scholarship and a potential professional career, became increasingly prominent in the latter half the twentieth century. The possibility of accessing higher education through football influenced how parents and players weighed the risks and benefits of the sport at the high school level and younger. The ways football improved perceived access to higher social standing and higher education contributed in part to the changing racial demographics of tackle football, particularly with the increasing involvement of African American athletes. Meanwhile, sportscasters’ glorification of “big hits” fostered celebration of football’s dangers even as sports organizers claimed both educational and physical benefits for the youth sport.

Keywords:   African American athletes, Football scholarship, Higher education, Access, Dangers, Media, Risks, Youth, Tackle football

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