The news of the National Football League's Thursday settlement of $765 million to thousands of players who had sued over head injuries has helped raise awareness of the danger of concussion among those who play the sport.
But does that increase in awareness of head injuries in the sport impact parents who let their kids play youth football, which includes children ages 5 to 15?
"I played football growing up. This is the existential threat to the game, though. If parents decide to send their kids into soccer instead of football, it could really hurt the NFL long term," said TODAY's Willie Geist.
While many football parents can't help but worry when their kids play the sport—after all, you send your kid to battle in a helmet and full gladiator gear—there's no major indication parental fear is resulting in fewer kids playing, according to current statistics.
Pop Warner, the largest and oldest youth football organization in the U.S., has seen the number of youth players—close to 250,000—remain steady from 2011 to 2012, according to Josh Pruce, national director of media relations at Pop Warner headquarters in Langhorne, Pa.
And Pruce says in the five years prior to 2012, there was a consistent, steady growth of 1 to 2 percent of players each year.
Pruce says that he has seen an increase in questions and concerns about head injuries related to the sport. "It's something we hear from parents and coaches. But we tell them safety is Pop Warner's number one priority."
In 2010, the organization instituted the Pop Warner concussion rule, which demands several steps be taken if a player has a concussion. Among the steps: If a player is diagnosed with a concussion, he has to sit out the rest of the game and can't come back to practice or playing in a game until he is cleared by a doctor.
Also, last year Pop Warner started limiting the amount of contact time during practices and banned the hitting drills that were deemed most dangerous.
(Read more: $765 million deal for NFL concussions)
In the Seattle area, the Greater Eastside Junior Football Association saw a 3 percent drop in player enrollment—from 2,868 to 2,785—in the last year, according to Billie Hartline, a GEJFA Council representative. Hartline says he considers it to be a "normal range of fluctuation" and isn't aware of anything specific causing a drop in players.
Meanwhile, in the football-loving land of south Texas, the past five years has only seen growth, says Chris Martinez, a father of three boys who play football, and president of the South Texas Youth Football League in Corpus Christi.