Playing Hard and Playing Smart on the Football Field
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The summer days are winding down and football players around the region are getting into the zone. Coaches are making sure the players are educated about the danger of concussions before stepping onto the field.
Youth football organization Pop Warner recently put some new safety rules into effect. They've limited contact at each practice to one-third of practice time, players are prohibited from intentional head-to-head contact and cannot engage in head-on blocking or tackling drills if more than three yards apart.
Mesa County coaches say that safety is their first priority and they already regulate practice in similar ways.
Robbie Owens, head coach of the Grand Junction Football team, said, “Youth football to high school football to college football, you know, the game just gets faster. Players obviously get bigger and stronger.”
“Keep our head in front and don’t keep it down. We don’t want to get our neck hurt or hurt our head,” said 12-year-old football player Derek Shaver.
Brian Shaver, coach of the East Middle School Bears light football team, said, “We’ve eliminated straight on tackling. We’ve eliminated hitting at practice continuously. There’s other ways to teach the kids proper technique without banging heads all day.”
“I think we all want to make sure and know we are OK instead of making it worse," Derek said.
Players must be aware that even the smallest concussion needs medical attention.
“It’s a problem, and if they get dizzy, if they get nauseous we need to get them out,” said Brian.
Certified athletic trainer Erin Glavan said, “The worst case scenario can be, it’s called second impact syndrome. What it is is you have a concussion and nobody knows about it, and then you get another one. It can result in death.”
“They’ve got so much more and they still have to develop so much that I think it’s important that we’re trying to protect them. This is a great game. It’s a game that’s unlike any other sport,” Owens said.
Knowledge and awareness can go a long way in protecting kids and teens as football season kicks in to high gear.
Some symptoms of concussions include: headache, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, sensitivity to noise or light, double or fuzzy vision, amnesia and slower reaction time.
Experiencing even just one of the symptoms can mean a player has suffered a concussion and should seek medical help immediately.