Tag Archives: youth
Micky Collins, the director of the Pittsburg Medical Center’s Sports Medicine Concussion Program, recently told the Columbus Dispatch that it is imperative that concussion awareness filter to younger athletes, even pre-teens, who participate in sports.
Collins told the paper that the human brain continues to develop until the early 20s, and that younger athletes don’t have the same neck strength as adults. He added that the strength of a player’s neck sometimes determines the severity of a concussion.
Others agree. Noted concussion expert Bob Cantu has even gone so far as recommend banning all headers in girls’ soccer until the age of 14, stating the fact that young girls’ necks are typically not as strong as their male counterparts. “The same force delivered to a girl’s head spins the head much more because of the weak neck than it does the guys,” Cantu has been quoted as saying.
The NFL and its 32 teams announced support this week for USA Football and the launch of Heads Up Football, which emphasizes “a smarter and safer way to play and teach youth football, including proper tackling and taking the head out of the game.”
The NFL will promote the Heads Up Football program, which is funded by the NFL,during nationally televised preseason games, through in-stadium banners and field stencils and digitally on team websites.
USA Football claims it has trained more than 80,000 volunteer youth coaches since 2007. Its curriculum covers “football’s fundamentals and player safety content, including concussion awareness and management protocols, player hydration and proper equipment fitting.”
“USA Football and the NFL continue our commitment to place great care and emphasis on player safety for the more than 3 million children who enjoy the fun and inherent team-first values of our game,” USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. “Through our Heads Up Football program, we are determined to make youth football even better and safer for our kids, and we encourage all youth sports to share this commitment with us.”
“The NFL and its teams are pleased to join USA Football in placing the health and well-being of our children first when it comes to safer play,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We share USA Football’s emphasis on player safety. We strongly endorse how Heads Up Football supports, instructs and strengthens the sport at its foundation, namely the coaches and parents who give of themselves for a better and safer game for their kids.”
Heads Up Football organizers said the aim is “to evolve the sport’s tackling instruction and terminology. Players who are taught tackling skills through Heads Up Football will ‘dip and rip,’ making contact in an ascending motion powered by legs and hips while ripping their arms upward around the ball carrier. Heads Up Football continues the sport’s evolution and encourages coaches to avoid tackling instruction such as ‘bite the ball’ or ‘head across,’ which places a player’s head in the line of contact.”
Whether it is the right thing, or the politically correct thing to do; it doesn’t matter.
The bottom line is that the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced a plan this weekend to distribute new football helmets to a youth football league in Akron as part of the Youth Football Safety Helmet Replacement Partnership’s pilot program.
And that will help a small group of youth football players, who have or are about to snap their chin straps in place.
The program is spearheaded by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and is comprised of various sport entities and sporting goods manufacturers, including NOCSAE, the NFL, USA Football, NFLPA, National Athletic Equipment Reconditioning Association, NCAA, Rawlings, Riddell, Schutt and Xenith.
The pilot year of the program has two key objectives: first, to replace up to 13,000 youth football helmets that are 10 years old or older with new helmets at no cost to the beneficiary leagues in underserved communities; and second, to increase player safety by arming coaches with the latest educational information related to player safety, including concussion protection, assessment and management.
NOCSAE, an independent and non-profit standard-setting body with the sole mission of enhancing athlete safety through scientific research and the creation of performance standards for protective equipment, evaluates youth football helmets to understand better the performance over time of youth football helmets and to inform a potential youth football helmet standard. NOCSAE serves as a leading non-governmental source for research funding in all sports medicine and science related to concussion in sports. Since 1995 the organization has devoted more than $5 million toward concussion-specific research by the foremost experts in sports medicine and science to develop and advance athlete safety.
“This program provides NOCSAE with the opportunity to study the old helmets that are collected, which we believe will substantially contribute to our ongoing research efforts,” said Mike Oliver, NOCSAE executive director. “This effort further supports our mission to drive the science of sports medicine so youth and adults who choose to play sports can know their equipment is certified to standards based on the best available information and to inform potential standards for youth football helmets,” said Oliver.
The NFL, NFL Players Association, National College Athletic Association and NOCSAE have committed a combined total of approximately $1 million to the Youth Football Safety Helmet Replacement Partnership in 2012. The program was initiated by the CPSC with the hope that it can be expanded in subsequent years.
The partnership includes an educational program from the Center for Disease Control and USA Football that includes materials on concussion awareness, proper helmet fitting and fundamentally sound football instruction with USA Football’s Tackle Progression Model and Levels of Contact module. In addition, participation in the program requires league coaches complete USA Football’s Level 1 coaching course.