The recent movie, Concussion, has highlighted safety concerns around the game of football. With approximately 250,000 kids that play at the Pop Warner level and 1.1 million high school students who play football, safety in football is undoubtedly at the top of many parents’ minds.
What Can Parents Do?
If you have a child that plays football, you are likely asking yourself what you can possibly do to look out for them. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has made a number of recommendations to help assure that it is safer for its participants. One of the recommendations is that parents be on the lookout for officials and coaches that are enforcing rules of proper tackling and zero-tolerance for illegal, head-first hits. Youth programs that adhere to USA Football’s Heads-Up Curriculum have seen a 76% reduction of injuries that occur. The curriculum teaches players proper procedure for blocking and tackling.
The AAP has also recommended the presence of athletic trainers on the sidelines of football games for kids and teenagers.
Finally, parents may consider another recommendation of the AAP: non-tackling leagues. While Dr. Greg Landry of the University of Wisconsin has stated that you could delay the introduction of tackling in football to your child until you feel they are old enough, he sees a significant drawback to that. According to Dr. Landry, there are higher rates of injury to players that first get exposed to tackling when the other players are bigger and stronger.
Other Useful Tips
In addition to covering proper blocking and tackling techniques for players, USA Football has other helpful guidelines for parents looking to maximize the safety of football for their children. Their website provides tips for properly fitting your children for helmets and pads. Because heat exhaustion has claimed the lives of one too many football players, their site has guidelines pertaining to heat preparedness and hydration. USA Football also addresses how to recognize the symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest and how to formulate an action plan for dealing with these symptoms. Finally, USA Football’s site discusses signs and symptoms of concussions and what coaches should do in the event of a suspected concussion.
What Happens If My Child Gets Hurt on the Field?
If you feel that your child has been injured or has died because of a failure of duty by a coach or an official for the youth league or the school, you should call an attorney immediately. The Law Offices of Michael Cordova are experienced in personal injury and wrongful death.