Thursday, April 4, 2013

NFL Moves to Help Kids Learn About Player Safety

Thanks so much for this guest post by John O'Connor at!

Sports offer so many benefits to kids, not only do they keep children fit while having fun with their friends but they also allow children to develop life long traits such as teamwork and leadership. With all the great things that come with playing sports, they can cause some serious injuries. Players, coaches and parents must be aware of the risks and dangers that come with playing contact sports and ways to become educated on how to prevent these injuries from occurring. The NFL has been working hard to change the image of contact sports and spread the word about the importance of player safety.

The NFL has always taken some precautions to prevent injuries, such as preventing grievous harm against defenseless players like quarterbacks and receivers. For one, you can't hit a quarterback below the knees and you can't tackle receivers when they're catching the ball. Player safety has become a top priority for the NFL. In addition, the NFL has created the NFL Evolution, a campaign to educate parents and kids on safety during contact sports and preventing serious injuries. As a parent, it's exciting to see a higher level organization getting involved with youth athletes and helping them learn the proper ways to play sports. Athletes and parents need to be aware of the injuries that children can face while playing contact sports.

There are a few injuries that stand out more than others, including concussions, knee injuries, dehydration and heat stroke.


Concussions are caused when someone is hit hard in the head, either by an object, falling on the ground or through contact with another player. When playing sports like football, concussions become all too common. They create headaches, confusion, dizziness, nausea and even memory loss. In addition, being hit in the head can also cause hearing loss. The hearing aid provider EarQ recently joined up with the NFL Players Association to help former NFL players dealing with hearing loss and also to inform younger players and their parents about the connection between hearing loss and head injuries. Here are a few tips your children should be aware of while playing contact sports:

1. Remember to always wear the right helmet that fits your head. You don't want to play and lose your helmet suddenly. That's how people get hurt.

2. Learn how to use your body properly, don't tackle someone headfirst. That's another way to surely cause a concussion.

3. Check with a doctor after suffering any type of contact to the head. You don't want to leave a concussion untreated. It's important to take any suspicions to a physician.

Knee Injuries

There are all types of knee injuries that can cause problems for sports players. One of the things that can devastate a player early on is injury to the ligaments in the knee, such as a torn ACL or anterior cruciate ligament. This ligament helps protect the knee and keep it stable, helping it shift and rotate. It's important to almost every basic activity that uses legs from jumping to running. Some players actually still continue to play with a torn ACL, which increase the chance of further injuring the knee. It's important to rest after a knee injury and not immediately return to the field. These are some other tips to remember when preventing a torn ligament in the knee:

1. If old enough and cleared by a physician, participate in strength and conditioning programs to increase lower body strength as well as agility and core drills to improve balance.

2. Stretch before and after any practices, training or games. This is important to relieve tightness in muscles.

3. If you have problems with your knees, then see a doctor to help you get in a rehabilitation program right away. You can fix knee problems if they're caught earlier.

Other Injuries

The warmer months of the year can create serious problems for athletes who train outside like football and lacrosse players. Training camps can be especially brutal in the summer months. For these times, it's important that you remember not to strain yourself during the hottest parts of the day and stay hydrated. You don't want to have a heat stroke in the summer nor start to become dehydrated. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks during practice or games.

Parents can feel safer about letting their kids join contact sports if they educate them on player safety. The NFL has made it a priority to educate parents and kids on injury prevention. While NFL players recover from injuries and deal with the after effects of football, it's important to remember that education starts young.

Hi my name is John O'Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman, sports enthusiast and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Check out my new blog at!

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