What is your definition of "safe?" If it's "safe = no risk," then youth football is not "safe" - and neither is soccer, baseball, lacrosse, basketball, riding a bicycle or riding in a car. News about concussions and lawsuits by current and former NFL players has fueled worthy debate about the safety of football at all levels (youth, high school, college, and pros).
This discussion has driven increased research, development of better equipment, changes to rules, improved coaching and awareness - all resulting in a safer game. Howeber, some tragic stories are leading to reactions based on emotion - not on facts.
All sports and physical activity carry inherent risk of injury, including concussions. Safety should always be taken very seriously. Most parents are surprised to learn that the risk of injury, including head injury is comparable or even higher in many of the other sports and activities their children participate in. Keeping a child out of youth football to avoid the risk of a head injury, but allowing the child to play soccer, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, bike-riding or other activities, doesn't eliminate these risk.
Youth football is not the same as it was 5 or 10 years ago, let alone what kids experienced "back in the day." It has evolved into a sport focused on safety, incorporating new tackling methods that have revolutionized the way the sport is taught and played. We teach USA Football Heads Up and Safe Contact techniques and strictly adhere to their tackling progression program that has proven to protect our boys. All coaches complete annual USA Football certification in these techniques and teaching methods. Our entire league has adopted this standard ensuring safer play during all games.
We take care and go to great lengths to ensure the safety of all players on the field. Our coaches use special instruction and teach the players safe tackling and blocking techniques. Secondly, we have done our research and use top of the line, individually fitted Xenith helmets. In addition, we use Guardian Protective Caps with all teams in practice and also in games for the younger levels. Finally, in an effort to reinforce our safety and injury prevention protocols, we have a certified athletic trainer at each of our games and practices.
All of our coaches are annually certified by USA Football to ensure that they are trained each season in the most current techniques and methodologies, and equipped with the latest information to ensure a safe and fun football environment for all players and their families. On top of this, our football program hosts a series of in-house clinics each preseason to prepare all coaches in the finer points of safe techniques, drills, and successful football strategies. This annual coaching school, developed in partnership with legendary NFL coach Howard Mudd, ensures our coaches have practical, on-hands experience teaching the sport prior to the start of practices.