PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The New Orleans Saints “bounty” scandal was one of the biggest stories in sports last year. Evidence that coaches offered money to players as a reward for injuring players on the opposing team led to suspensions of players and coaches, and a national discussion about injuries and the intent to injure other players in professional sports.
A new survey says that “bounty” type programs aren’t just something that happens in professional, college, or even high school sports, but athletes as young as eight years-old.
11% of youth athletes that took part in a survey say they have been offered a reward or a gift such as money, ice cream or candy, lighter work outs at practice and more playing time, to hurt another player on an opposing team. The survey was conducted by I9 Sports, a youth sports league franchise company in Hoboken, New Jersey. 348 athletes between the ages of 8 and 14 answered questions about injuries in team sports.
Almost 30% of respondents have been “secretly glad” when a player on the other team was hurt. 16% of respondents say either themselves or a teammate has tried to hurt a player on the opposing team.
Concussions have also been a large part of the discussion in both professional and youth athletics. Part of the concern is that players are not honest about their head injuries in an attempt to continue playing.
Almost 70% of respondents say they believe they appear “tough” or “cool” by continuing to play hurt. Nearly 70% say they’ve played sports while hurt, and nearly 50% say they’ve hidden an injury to continue playing.
For the culture of professional sports to change in regard to injury, many have said it has to begin at the youth level. If this survey is any indication, there is still a lot of work to do in that respect.