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A survey was conducted to determine the level of awareness among parents of high school football players about the risk of severe brain injury. A national sample of 1007 randomly selected households was interviewed by telephone during February, 1992. All interviewees were parents of high school football players who either were currently playing football or had played within the previous 5 years. Survey questions measured the extent to which parents were aware both of the risks associated with playing high school football and the existing helmet warnings about those risks. Overall, the survey results demonstrated that parents of high school football players were uninformed about both the risk of severe brain injury from playing high school football and the football helmet warnings about that risk. Specifically, unprompted, most parents mentioned broken bones, knee injuries, sprains, or shoulder injuries as hazards associated with playing football. Few parents mentioned severe brain damage, even when prompted. Further, the overwhelming majority of parents incorrectly believed that wearing a football helmet generally eliminated the risk of severe brain injury. Very few parents had received information from any source about the risks of head injury or had heard that no football helmet can provide complete protection against this hazard. Few parents were aware of the warning label on the helmet or knew what the label said, even when prompted. In short, parents were unaware of the risk of severe brain damage, misinformed about a football helmet's ability to protect against this risk, and uninformed about the football helmet warning label about this risk.