Monday, June 3, 2013

Football Safety and the NFLs Influence

With little league football signs up starting around the country, high school teams already starting camps and practices (with baseball season not even over yet ;))!

To get the season off to great start, I am sharing with you a guest post about safety on the field.  This writing, John, has done extensive research on football safety in the youth.  His goal here is to educate.  I know too many parents myself that do not know all the facts or how to ensure their son's equipment is right for them.  As a team manager of several teams over the years and mother to three boys that have playing sports since they could walk, this issue is very important to me.  This will not be the first post about football you will see form me!

Here is John's article, I hope you find as informative as I have!

Hi my name is John O'Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman, sports enthusiast and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Check out my new blog at

How the NFL is Taking the Lead to Make Football Safer

While baseball is sometimes referred to as America's pastime, football has surpassed it in terms of popularity. The NFL is a juggernaut in American culture, and high school and college football are tremendously popular as well. In recent years, however, studies have shown that football may be more dangerous than previously thought. In response, the NFL has commissioned a number of studies and instituted a number of rule changes that will make the sport safer in the future. In addition, rule changes adopted by the NFL are generally adopted on all levels of sports. For parents who are concerned about the safety of their children, these rule changes will make football a more safe sport than ever before.

The NFL has been extremely pro active over the past few years in trying to make the game of football not only safer for professional athletes but also for athletes who participate at all levels. Many of these changes have been instituted already, and football players and their parents can expect even more changes to come in the near future.

That said, there are certain types of injuries that parents will want to be aware of, and parents can take a proactive role in ensuring that their children are safe when they play football. Here are some of the most common types of injuries and how parents and coaches can help children stay safe while playing one of the nation's most popular sport.


In recent years, concussions have received a considerable amount of attention. In particular, studies have shown that subclinical concussions can lead to accumulated damage over time and that stricter guidelines can help prevent players who have suffered from a concussion from becoming injured even more. By simply preventing players who have suffered from a concussion from returning until all of their symptoms have resolved for at least a week, experts believe that damage noted in former players can be avoided.  The NFLPA has partnered with EarQ, a hearing aid supplier to help treat former NFL players who are affected with hearing loss.  Along with treating past players, this partnership has been looking to spread awareness to parents and children around head injuries and the direct correlation they have with hearing loss. 

In addition, new technology is helping to prevent concussions from occurring at all. Better helmets are being used to move the force of impacts away from the skull, and rule changes are discouraging players from using dangerous techniques.

ACL and Ligament Damage

Knee injuries are also very common in football, and some injuries may necessitate surgery and rehabilitation. While some knee injuries are unavoidable, the NFL and other football leagues are taking steps to reduce the incidence of ACL and ligament damage. Football coaches are now emphasizing flexibility as a means of avoiding injuries, along with strength and conditioning programs tat focus directly on building and strengthening the lower body specifically the muscles around the knee. In addition, better technique can lead to a reduction in the rate of knee injuries, and the NFL is helping encourage better fundamentals on all levels of football.

One of the best ways parents can help their children is to monitor for knee injuries. Football players may be reluctant to admit that they have been injured, so looking for signs that your child is having difficulty walking normally can help. Always speak with a doctor if you have any questions about whether your child needs to take a break from football to recover.

Heat-Related Injuries

One of the most dangerous sports injuries is heatstroke, and there are a number of other types of heat-related injuries as well. In the past, heat-related injuries were far more common than they are today, but the NFL and other sports leagues have taken steps to keep players even safer. Proper hydration is now viewed as an essential element of football practice, and those who have children who play any sport will want to ensure that coaches provide water when it is needed.

Parents can also encourage their children to wear light clothes and to drink water on a regular basis. Even those who do not feel thirsty may be suffering from the early stages of dehydration, and any athlete who feels unnaturally tired or confused will need to cool down immediately. Fortunately, coaches know of the dangers of heat-related injuries, and they will take steps to keep their athlete safe.

Injuries cannot be avoided entirely in football or in any other sports, but most believe that the benefits of organized sports outweigh the potential risks. This does not mean, however, that safety is not actively emphasized, and parents should be assured that sports leagues on all levels are taking steps to prevent and treat injuries that occur. Thanks to the NFL's leadership, parents who have children who play football can expect fewer concussions to occur in the future. In addition, football players will be at a lower risk of developing knee injuries over the coming years, and parent should expect coaches to take all steps possible to avoid heat-related injuries. While football will always cause occasional injuries, parents should take comfort in the fact that the sport has never been safer.


 ~Happy Football Season!  Ours Starts in August!!

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