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Make sure children keep their ‘HEAD-UP’ for safety

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Mycal L. King and Clyde Nobles
  • 375th Medical Support Squadron

Regardless of the sport, we want our kids to have the best experience possible coupled with learning the fundamentals of the game all while having fun. However as parents, our No. 1 concern is safety.

We have been hearing a lot about head related injuries, particularly concussions, through various media outlets over the past few years and it raises a valid question: Should my child participate in youth football?

This is a question that pundits on each side of the fence continue to make very convincing arguments about. I feel each parent must assess the situation for themselves, consult with their child’s pediatrician and then make an educated decision.

As a parent of an 11-year-old who has played football since the age of 5, I feel comfortable allowing my kid to participate. His first two years in the sport, head related injuries were not atop of my concern list, as at this age most kids do not possess the coordination and strength required to make violent collisions.

It is imperative when conducting your research on whether or not your child should participate that you should identify youth football programs that have partnered with USA Football to implement “HEADS-UP” Tackling. “HEADS-UP” Football is a national initiative to help make the sport safer.

In addition, it is a comprehensive collection of resources, programs, and applications geared to create change and address the complex challenges of player health and safety in youth and high school football.

When looking for an organization that emphasizes player safety, the Mascoutah Indians fulfilled all of my requirements. The organization’s goal is to ensure a safe positive football experience for every student athlete. Every Indians coach has been trained in “HEADS UP” football techniques and will complete USA Football’s Level 1 Coach Certification Course, which includes the Center for Disease Control and Prevention concussion recognition and response protocols.

In addition, they will receive training in proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting as well as tackling techniques aimed at removing the head and neck out of the line of contact. As a parent concerned with your youth football player’s safety, choosing an organization that supports “HEADS UP” fundamentals, focused on the reduction of head related injuries is a no brainer!