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Doctor says football isn't as dangerous for kids as believed

Kids everywhere are gearing up with helmets, pads and mouth guards to hit the field for youth football games.

According to USA Football, the sport's national governing body in the U.S., approximately 3 million children between the ages of 6 and 14 play youth football, placing it among the country's most popular youth sports.

While some parents are hesitant to let their little ones participate because of the sport's physical nature, experts say football - even when tackling is permitted - isn't as dangerous as many think.

"It's not the safest place a kid can be, but it's not the most dangerous either," pediatric surgeon Dr. Gary Brock recently told the Houston Chronicle. "A lot of parents have that impression, but in the young age groups, pre-puberty, we don't see it at the clinical level."

Dr. Brock told the newspaper that statistics on the number of injuries caused by playing football are significantly skewed because so many kids play the sport.

"I tell parents that it's safer to send their children to Pop Warner (football)," he said, "than to the playground."

Experts say that wearing properly fitting new or used football equipment is important to avoiding injuries.

In addition, this year, USA Football has introduced a course that teaches coaches how to show players how to tackle in a way that will help cut down on injuries.

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