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As America's most popular sport, professional football is a billion-dollar game and makes its players into millionaires. However, recent arguments on the dangers of concussions and football have cast a shadow over the sport. Even President Obama recently voiced concerns on whether he would ever let his children play football.
Use Safe Helmets
The skull offers an amazing shell of protection for the brain, but the body's defenses can't compete with the bumps and blows that occur in a contact sport like football. A helmet may be the only barrier a player has against tackles and pileups, so it needs to be free of cracks and in good condition.
Inspect the helmet regularly to ensure there isn't any damage. Replace or repair the helmet immediately if it's damaged. Also, use the right size helmet. An ill-fitting helmet will rattle around on a player's head and may cause more damage during vigorous play. Remember that a proper helmet also prevents scalp lacerations and fractures.
Learn to Tackle Properly
Fervor over head injuries in football recently led to the passage of official concussion laws from most state governments. USA Football, which is the official youth arm of the NFL, suggests limiting the amount of time players spend practicing contact drills.
Additionally, USA Football also offers details on the right way to tackle, which is good advice for players of all ages. Many college-level players today learned the game before there was any widespread debate on concussions. A remedial course on safe tackling may save a life.
Recognize a Concussion
The CDC says a concussion is a "forceful bump, blow, or jolt to the head." If a concussion does occur on the field, coaches should inspect the player for signs of injury, such as confusion and loss of consciousness. Also, players should tell a coach if they have a headache, feel nauseous, or can't concentrate.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|