With football season just around the corner, many young athletes are suiting up for game day.
Youth sports help boost confidence, teach teamwork and keep kids healthy. Unfortunately, football doesn't come without a certain level of risk.
Concussions, in particular, are a major concern for athletes, coaches, and organizations with 5 out of every 100 young players suffering from this type of head injury.
So, what can you do to promote safe play and help protect players from a serious injury on the field?
Keep reading for more information on using the right equipment and safety protocol to keep kids safe this football season.
In fact, athletes between the ages of 6 and 14 are 15 times more likely to experience head impact during a game or practice.
These same athletes are 23 times more likely to sustain a hard hit to the head.
On average, youth tackle football players will encounter over 378 head impacts per season. That's just one player!
The most serious, and common, type of head injury is a concussion. When a child's brain is jostled inside their skull, it can have short-term and long-term effects.
Immediate symptoms and signs of a concussion include:
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Trouble concentrating
In most cases, these symptoms subside within a few days of adequate rest and limited screen time.
Not all concussions heal this easily. Long-term effects can last several years following the incident and include:
- Abnormal brainwaves
- Deterioration of the nerves that control motor functions
As these young athletes grow and progress into upper-level sports, including college football, concussions become even more damaging. After multiple head injuries, some athletes exhibit the same characteristics as patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Protecting children playing sports now has never been more important.
Tips for Safe Football
Since young football players are at the greatest risk of injury, including concussions, you must take the necessary steps to protect their bodies and wellbeing.
Not every accident can be predicted or prevented. Even with the best safety measures in place, injuries are a part of youth sports.
If a child gets hurt while on the field, having accident and health insurance coverage can help ease the family's worry over medical bills and make them whole again.
Our policies cover out-of-pocket costs regardless of who's at fault. Now, parents can let their children play with “peace of mind” and you can avoid stressful and pricey lawsuits.
Following the below safety protocol can help eliminate the need for an insurance claim altogether.
Techniques and Training
Football player safety starts with learning the proper techniques and rules for safe play. Even with the right protective gear (more on this in a minute), football players that don't follow the rules put themselves and others at risk.
Make sure all members of the coaching staff are properly trained in player safety.
New guidelines set forth by the NFL and youth athletic associations are banning certain drills and enforcing new penalties. Contact is limited both during practice and games.
Pop-up kicks, blindside blocks, and targeting are no longer permitted in youth sports. Coaches are also teaching players how to keep their head out of the game to reduce the number of head and neck injuries -- including concussions.
Coaches are also teaching a new way to tackle that does away with the old technique of using your head as an extra limb.
Penalizing players and coaches who don't follow these safety protocols will hopefully deter others from following suit.
Even with the right techniques and training, coaches and players can't control every move made out on the playing field. The proper safety equipment protects young athletes from hard hits, tackles, and missteps.
The most important piece of equipment any football player wears is their helmet. Designed to protect the head and neck from shock and injury, helmets should be worn during all practices and games.
Helmet-to-helmet contact was recently banned in the NFL to reduce the risk of serious injury, including concussions. The same rule applies to youth sports. A helmet-to-helmet hit is considered a form of targeting.
Pads are another important piece of safety equipment for football players. Shoulder, hip, tail, and knee pads help protect a player's extremities during contact with other players and the ground.
Mouthguards protect the child's teeth and face from impact and proper cleats help with traction, preventing slips and falls.
What to Do When An Accident Happens
You've taken all the right steps to ensure player safety, but an accident happens despite your best efforts. Now what?
Having the proper accident and health insurance plan in place will prevent a bad situation from getting worse. The last thing you want is a lawsuit, and chances are, it's the last thing the injured child's family wants either.
They just want their out of pocket medical costs covered and for their young athlete to be safe and healthy. Investing in a general liability plan with a supplemental accident and health option gives everyone involved protection and “peace of mind.”
Not only can a lawsuit cost you big now, but in the future when your coverage costs rise. Avoid additional headaches and stress by protecting both yourself and your athletes with pomi.
Putting Safety First in Youth Sports
With roughly 45 million children currently involved in youth sports, promoting safe play is a must for continued enrollment and success.
Help protect players, parents, and your organization by following proper safety protocol and investing in the best accident and health insurance plan.
At pomi, we cater to your organization's specific needs to deliver adequate coverage and “peace of mind.”
Reach out today for more information on the general liability and supplemental options we offer so your young football players can have a safe and rewarding season.