Young football player sounds off on new safety guidelines

Young football player sounds off on new safety guidelines

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Some doctors are offering new recommendations to help keep your children safe while playing football.

At Glenville High School in Cleveland, the Tarblooders football team is a powerhouse with an 8-1 record this season.

But that stat can come at a price.

Running back Taliesin Farmer has taken hit after hit. He says the worst are the "head first" hits.

"First when you get hit your head be dizzy, your eyes be blurry, it's a scary sight," Farmer said.

Thankfully, Farmer is fine.

Other players have not been as lucky.

17-year-old Andre Smith from Chicago suffered a head injury and died.

So,  the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines aimed at improving youth football.

The first recommendation: zero tolerance for illegal "head first" hits.

Dr. Amanda Kelly is Pediatric Sports Medicine physician with University Hospitals.

"If they do even have a little dizziness or headache after a hit they need to come out at that point. If they continue to play and continue to get hit they are more likely to have more prolonged symptoms and potentially catastrophic events," Dr. Kelly said.

Coaches say they understand the changes. Don Van Drei is an assistant coach with Glenville.

"If I was one of those parents whose child got hurt I don't think they are overreacting. It starts with the youth guys and teaching the right way to play," Van Drei said.

"I think it's fair so everybody else won't get hurt. We try and protect ourselves and our opponents," said player Ralph Davis.
The second recommendation: always have a trainer on the field.

"Trainers are able to notice and automatically know when a player is injured and when they need to come out of the game. This is something every team should have," Dr. Kelly said.

None of the players we spoke with were willing to accept tackle-free football as an alternative.

"There are risks in football, but it's football and you just have to play it right," one player said.

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