Unfortunately, the degree to which children are protected from the risks of playing football is very much related to the level of privilege—racial, economic, and social—the child experiences while growing up. That same NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that while 50 percent of respondents with postgraduate degrees would prefer their children not play football, only 31 percent of people with a high-school education or less would say the same.
There’s a good reason for that disparity—better-educated and wealthier people have more access to information about football’s concussion crisis. A 2013 poll conducted by HBO and Marist found that 63 percent of college graduates and 66 percent of people making more than $50,000 per year said they’d heard “a good amount” about football causing concussions, compared to 47 percent of those who made less than $50,000 per year and half of those without a college degree.
In other words, children are being put in danger not because of their own carelessness, or a difference in parenting style, or even because poorer, less privileged kids have fewer ways to climb the class ladder. It’s because many of their parents—especially those who earn less or who haven’t attained as much education—aren’t getting the information they need to make the best decisions for their families.