A CBS News report released yesterday cited some surprising numbers related to head injuries and concussions in youth sports, and it may not be what you think.

The report says that “unjustified fear of concussions – in part because of hype in the media – is helping to cause a sharp decline in kids’ participation in sports.”

And that trend has doctors concerned, because they believe the risk to kids from inactivity is greater than the danger of harm from concussions.

The most recent lacrosse numbers, as captured in the annual US Lacrosse Participation Report, do not show a drop in youth involvement, but other sports are seeing a disturbing trend.

Football has seen a drop in youth participation of 5.4% between 2008 and 2012. Surprisingly, other sports show even steeper drop-offs during the same time period:

  • Soccer – 7.1%
  • Baseball – 7.2%
  • Basketball – 8.3%

The CBS report says experts cite the fear of concussions as the main factor in these declining numbers.

Doctors in the report say that there’s no definitive evidence that a single concussion causes long-term damage. Doctors also noted a lack of scientific evidence to support some of the current recommendations for treating concussions, such as extended periods of rest.

To help provide some further guidance on these issues for lacrosse parents and participants, US Lacrosse is developing a concussion management plan based on input from experts on the organization’s Sports Science and Safety Committee. The plan will be released by the end of the year.

"Head injury, including concussion, continues to be a concern in youth sports, and this plan is intended to serve as a plan for action, based on current national and international research and consensus statements,” said Bruce Griffin, director of health and sport safety as US Lacrosse.