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    Youth Football/Question for parents

    I'm a few years away, but I have a couple of boys now and I'm starting to think about the future for them. I'm starting to have some concerns about putting them in football, and 5 years ago I never even would have had a second thought about it. I've been reading a bit about it today:

    A Hard-Hitting Story: Young Football Players Take Big-League Hits to Head | PBS NewsHour | April 2, 2012 | PBS

    Basically there was a study done, and for the most part the kids (pop warner, 7 and 8) don't hit really hard enough to cause concussions, but they do sometimes. That said it seems like a real one-off situation, and it seems akin to something like a bad fall in basketball or something similar.

    Kids Concussion Study Reveals Long-term Effects of Mild TBI | Washington Hyperbaric Therapy Center's Blog

    Jonah Lehrer on concussions in adolescents and the future of football - Grantland

    These are two studies that show serious potential long term problems for kids and adolescents who receive concussions.

    So what, am I overreacting here? Plus, how do you tell a young kid they can't go out for football if they really want to? Just something I've been thinking about.

    This is doubly problematic for me because I do love the sport, and if I don't want my own kid doing it, it's pretty hypocritical of me to love ISU football so much and love big hits.




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    Re: Youth Football/Question for parents

    WDMlPYFL does a great job minimizing this type of injury risk.

    One way is via education and proper equipment. Another is they don't do special teams.



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    Re:Youth Football/Question for parents

    Ironically I got 3 concussions playing soccer and baseball in h.s. But I agree with the person who said youth leagues do a good job with this.



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    Re: Youth Football/Question for parents

    Signed my 8 year old up for Contact football this fall. After talking with the coaching staff and seeing some game film I am not at all concerned about long term effects of football at this age. The the league in Ames (Part of the DM league) they get new gear every 2-3 years (not refurb but new) they also put a large focus on safety.

    The game film was hilarious, little kids in full gear bumping into one another and falling over, good stuff!


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    Re: Youth Football/Question for parents

    I honestly am not that concerned with the little kiddos. more concerned w/ Jr high and high school, but by not starting them at that age I would think they would likely be way behind.



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    Re: Youth Football/Question for parents

    Quote Originally Posted by BryceC View Post
    I honestly am not that concerned with the little kiddos. more concerned w/ Jr high and high school, but by not starting them at that age I would think they would likely be way behind.
    I have two sons that went through youth football. The youngest did not play football anymore after his freshman year and the older one participated in 2 state championship games. The WDMlPYFL for kids before middle school is well regulated and the cover all the safety stuff prior to the season, once the season starts. Crack back blocks, reverses intending to just level someone out are called by coaches, the "referees often at our games were reffing at a level that is was perfect for them, I can't imagine many of the refs doing a high school game. 2 -3 yard line splits were often the norm. ( This widened the tackle box, which is very important when bending the "safety rules") I see absolutely no advantage to have someone younger than middle school participating in full padded football. The skills and techniques to be learned at that age do not require pads. If a kid that age can learn tackling and blocking technique without pads, if you can't tackle or block the you hope you can catch or pass the ball. I understand the team thing, and the hanging out with friends thing, but the more mature "being a part of a team and buying into tearing your hearts out for each other mentality isn't there yet. As a person over 50 with 3 kids out of school, youth football is just recreation, IMHO. And to answer the OPs question, don't worry about concussions. Or lock your kid in a padded room, your choice. If you don't permit football (if he wants to play) then what is your next step in preventing concussions? Just askin.


    Last edited by mkadl; 06-09-2012 at 07:10 AM.
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    Re:Youth Football/Question for parents

    My son played in 5th, 6th grade youth football, and on the middle school team last year.

    You're never going make it 100% safe, but I think they do a good job of making it as safe as possible.

    Seems like the natural physical abilities help, as the limitless guys have a big speed advantage and the big guys are way bigger but slow (with some exceptions of course).

    My son has played center all three years, this last one at about 180 lbs. We're going to reevaluate each year based on his relative size and strength, especially playing on the line in a 4A school.

    His only injuries do far have been bumps and bruises, and a sore back for a week that happened in blocking drills with a much larger coach.

    The last critical factor is whether he wants to continue or not. Our only rule for him is that he has to finish a year that he starts. When he comes to me and says he's done playing, I will certainly allow it.

    On the other side, there are a ton of positives. He's made lots of friends and has earned respect from classmates, and he's gotten a lot tougher and learned responsibility.



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    Re:Youth Football/Question for parents

    Little guys... Not limitless....stupid autocorrect!



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    Re: Youth Football/Question for parents

    Quote Originally Posted by ISUFan22 View Post
    WDMlPYFL does a great job minimizing this type of injury risk.

    One way is via education and proper equipment. Another is they don't do special teams.
    I'm a coach in this league, and I can confirm this statement. We have to be certified each year, and 2/3 of the certification deals with health issues. (Heath/hydration would be the 2nd biggest health topic).

    Safe tackling is the #2 topic after safety/health.

    We know what to look for regarding concussions. If there's any question, they sit. We've got licensed health practitioners at every game.

    We don't have any special teams play.

    It's as safe as the sport allows.


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    Re: Youth Football/Question for parents

    I know you said parents but I have reffed 3rd grade all the way to high school football. From my experience, kids at that level don't really that hit that hard. Some of the kids in the 3rd/4th level seem pretty hesitant to hit which does lead to some really soft hits. There is a slight jump when you hit the next level but it helps when they have rules that limit the ball carrier. From my standpoint and the people I worked with safety was the number one priority. I called more unnecessary roughness penalties at the 5th/6th level than I did any other level because I saw a lot of things beyond the play that don't need to be happening and injury could occur.

    Another thing to consider is that there has been a tremendous push for safety the last 5-10 years by coaches and refs. There also been advances in the equipment that make it much safer than it was say 20 years ago.

    I would be a little interested to see how old some of the studies or the data they are using. I have no doubt that the effects of concussion can do long term harm, but I would think with the advancements in safety and better information on the topic that there would be some decline in the negative effects.

    Also as a parent if you see something you don't like, don't be afraid to talk to the coach.



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    Re: Youth Football/Question for parents

    From what I've read, the health concern isn't just concussions but also the repetitive hits at less-than-concusion levels. That's why the problem shows up in lineman, who may never have a real concussion, more than receivers who may have 3-4 major concussions but don't get as many total impacts. And even though there are advances in technology every year, the effects are cumulative and long term so we won't really know if the new tech provides positive results for many years.

    That being said, I would not be concerned about it at a level lower than junior high. Junior high is when the "spirit of competition" takes the first serious step increase, and at that point I'd be more concerned. I coached junior high for 6 years and some of those kids can really hit as they're starting to develop and there can be a LARGE difference in physical capability. By junior/senior year most kids are caught up again at roughly the same level of ability, but everyone is so much bigger and faster that the impacts can be brutal on every play.


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    Re: Youth Football/Question for parents

    My son is a 4th grader and plays in the WDSM league. Last year I can only remember one hit that I would call "hard". Like most people are saying at the higher levels is where you might have to rethink whether or not your kids continue to participate.



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    Re: Youth Football/Question for parents

    Yeah, when my son was in youth, it was broken up into purple (4th and 5th grade) and gold (5th and 6th grade)- never 4th grade vs 6th, even in practice.

    When my son was on purple, I was watching the gold thinking he was going to get killed the next year, but when it came, he was that much bigger and prepared for it. Same thing last year when I was watching the 8th graders, but I'm guessing he'll be 190-200 lbs and be ready for that too.



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    Re: Youth Football/Question for parents

    Most of the youth leagues (at least around my area) divide the kids into weight classes so at least you're not colliding with people a lot bigger than you. Serious injury could still occur, of course, but I think that makes it a little less likely.

    The youth league in Cedar Rapids used to boast (and I haven't been around it for a few years so it might have changed since I heard this) that they'd never had a broken bone and they've been at it a lot of years now.



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    Re: Youth Football/Question for parents

    Quote Originally Posted by mkadl View Post
    I have two sons that went through youth football. The youngest did not play football anymore after his freshman year and the older one participated in 2 state championship games. The WDMlPYFL for kids before middle school is well regulated and the cover all the safety stuff prior to the season, once the season starts. Crack back blocks, reverses intending to just level someone out are called by coaches, the "referees often at our games were reffing at a level that is was perfect for them, I can't imagine many of the refs doing a high school game. 2 -3 yard line splits were often the norm. ( This widened the tackle box, which is very important when bending the "safety rules") I see absolutely no advantage to have someone younger than middle school participating in full padded football. The skills and techniques to be learned at that age do not require pads. If a kid that age can learn tackling and blocking technique without pads, if you can't tackle or block the you hope you can catch or pass the ball. I understand the team thing, and the hanging out with friends thing, but the more mature "being a part of a team and buying into tearing your hearts out for each other mentality isn't there yet. As a person over 50 with 3 kids out of school, youth football is just recreation, IMHO. And to answer the OPs question, don't worry about concussions. Or lock your kid in a padded room, your choice. If you don't permit football (if he wants to play) then what is your next step in preventing concussions? Just askin.
    There is a huge gap between worrying about concussions and locking your kid in a padded room.

    I'm not overly concerned about the young kids, but to say you shouldn't have ANY concern, with what they have learned about hits in kids, is ridiculous.

    Part of my concern is that if my kids have my body type at all, they are going to be rail skinny. And I agree with the guy who said I'm not overly concerned with big hits, more with repeated hits which we don't know a lot about yet.

    As far as what I would do, I'd probably plan now and steer him into another sport besides football so it's never an issue, which is one reason I am bringing up now when they are 2 years old and the leagues are several years away.




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