It’s Back-to-School time, which also means the little ones are going to be getting back out there on the field in Phoenix for team sports such as football. And, with getting back into gear and with the team comes the fear of injury. As a parent of a young football player, I can tell you first hand how scary it is when you hear the tackle reverberating in your own ears, and instantly the thought of concussion races through your head.
Here in Phoenix, Pop Warner impliments the NFl’s “Heads Up” program, which trains thousands of Pop Warner coaches to teach the latest techniques and make the game safer for hundreds of thousands of young players, according to Pop Warner’s August 1st news release.
The release goes on to say, Heads Up Football, developed by USA Football with the support of the NFL in 2012, provides a better, safer way to teach and play the game. It makes the game safer by teaching players to keep their heads up and out of the line of contact, training and certifying coaches on the fundamentals of safety, appointing Player Safety Coaches for every youth league to enforce safety protocols, ensuring proper equipment fitting, and teaching coaches, parents and players how to recognize and treat a concussion under protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Football and Concussions
Pop Warner is a fairly safe activity for the kids to get involved with at an early age. While parents bring a certain amount of fear with them to the field, statistics show that only about 1.33 children become injured per team, per season playing Pop Warner. None of these injuries have been catastrophic, and it was rare for a permanent disability to result from any injury.
Pop Warner has a strict set of Policies regarding their athletes and coaches. Those guidelines can be found here: http://www.popwarner.com/safety/concussionpolicy.htm
With that said, it’s still incredibly important to be aware of the signs for concussion. According to the Mayo Clinic, here are the signs of a concussion:
- Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
- Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
- Dizziness or “seeing stars”
- Ringing in the ears
- Nausea or vomiting
- Slurred speech
Some symptoms of concussions may be immediate or delayed in onset by hours or days after injury:
- Concentration and memory complaints
- Irritability and other personality changes
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Sleep disturbances
- Psychological adjustment problems and depression
- Disorders of taste and smell
And as we move into younger children, here are the signs of a possible concussion for toddlers:
- Listlessness, tiring easily
- Irritability, crankiness
- Change in eating or sleeping patterns
- Lack of interest in favorite toys
- Loss of balance, unsteady walking
When To See A Doctor
Guidelines are pretty strict when it comes to concussions and when to call the doctor. In fact, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you call your pediatrician or family doctor if your child receives anything more than a light bump on the head. That might sound extreme to parents who grew up in a different generation, but head injuries are nothing to take lightly.
When it comes to youth football and concussions, policy does state that no child shall return to play after a big hit or incorrect tackle. However, with that said it is your responsibility as the parent to be proactive. If you feel that you child received a head blow or made a tackle with his head, take him out and let him rest a few plays to monitor his behavior.
No matter what, if you are concerned or have that parenting instinct that something is wrong, call your Phoenix physician immediately.