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SportsPulse: While many sports activities are seeing rise in youth participation deal with soccer is seeing a dramatic drop in participation. Nancy Armour particulars the way forward for soccer in America and the NFL.

Bob Costas(Photo: Bob Donnan, USA TODAY Sports)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — As far as longtime sports activities broadcaster Bob Costas is anxious, the way forward for soccer within the United States is evident — and bleak.

“The actuality is that this sport destroys individuals’s brains,” he mentioned Tuesday night time.

Speaking at a roundtable dialogue on the University of Maryland, Costas, who hosted Football Night in America on NBC for greater than a decade, mentioned the game may collapse over time, barring a growth in know-how to make it fairly protected. He mentioned the decline of soccer, which was as soon as “a money machine,” is probably the most vital story in American sports activities.

“The cracks in the foundation are there,” Costas mentioned. “The day-to-day issues, as serious as they may be, they may come and go. But you cannot change the nature of the game. I certainly would not let, if I had an athletically gifted 12- or 13-year-old son, I would not let him play football.”

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Costas spoke alongside USA TODAY Sports columnist Christine Brennan and ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon on the college’s annual Shirley Povich Symposium, named after the late Washington Post sports activities columnist. The panel touched on a variety of subjects, together with Jemele Hill’s suspension at ESPN and the ever-changing panorama of sports activities journalism, however the way forward for soccer turned a recurring theme.

Kornheiser likened soccer’s trajectory to that of boxing, saying that security considerations may make the sport out of date within the coming many years.

“It’s not going to occur this yr, and it’s not going to occur in 5 years or 10 years,” Kornheiser mentioned. “But Bob is true: At some level, the cultural wheel turns just a bit bit, nearly imperceptibly, and oldsters say, ‘I don’t need my children to play.’ And then it turns into solely the province of the poor, who need it for financial causes to rise up and out.

“If they don’t discover a strategy to make it protected, and we don’t see how they may … the sport’s not going to be round. It’s not.”

Wilbon mentioned soccer additionally lacks the worldwide attraction of sports activities resembling basketball and soccer, partly as a result of it has sought to manage its personalities.

“Football desires to distance itself and put a moat between itself and its fan base. It does not need to discuss to them,” Wilbon said. “‘Well, Tom Brady’s accessible on Tuesdays to speak.’ Well, LeBron (James) is offered each rattling day. He’s accessible each day on Instagram, on Twitter, on no matter it’s. And it isn’t filtered.”

Costas mentioned the NFL’s obvious protection mechanism — to hunt extra data and proceed to review the risks of the game — will solely harm its personal trigger. “The extra data (that) comes out, the more severe it appears to be like,” the 28-time Emmy Award winner mentioned.

He added that current literature and badysis will ultimately lead households to what he referred to as a “common sense conclusion,” that kids mustn’t play deal with soccer till they’re 18, in the event that they play in any respect.

“But then the place’s the expertise pool for school? What occurs to school soccer?” Costas continued. “The whole thing could collapse like a house of cards if people actually begin connecting the dots.”

Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad

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