Nik Jehle has played football since he was seven, including two years in college. He has had a personal experience with concussions.
“That one was a grade two, so it was pretty bad.”
“I was completely out of it for a good two minutes, I don’t remember anything.”
Nik said he was taught safety techniques at a young age.
“Not to use your helmet as a weapon, not to lead with your head. That obviously helps you avoid head injuries and concussions. Other than that if you feel that you’ve had a concussion the coaches tell you to come to them with it. They don’t take it lightly.”
For him, the desire to play out-weighed the consequences of telling his coaches about his injuries.
“It’s kind of hard as a player when you’re into the game and you love the game and just really want to play. Even at a young age I would do anything to play even if I was having a little bit of pain.’
Football is actually the most common sport for concussions. Those who play carry a 75% risk of getting a concussion.
David Taylor, president of the heads up youth football program, says that this program is designed to prevent these health issues. It shows coaches how to teach their young players safety.
“Proper tackling technique, keep your head up, lead with shoulders. There’s a wide range of videos and references that we provide to coaches that help them learn how to keep kids. Coaches are on the front line of teaching kids the proper techniques.”
Young athletes are able to start playing tackle football in the first grade.
“We also have things we build into the program such as no kick offs no punt returns to prevent that head on collision that risk of head on collision.”
That’s 8-year-old Kane Snider’s favorite thing about playing football.
Kane and Owen Snider have played football for a couple of years.
They say even though their coaches have taught them about safety, their biggest fear is getting hurt.
“My friend Cameron got hurt playing tackle football”
“He came in with a black eye”
Although football coaches may never completely eliminate injuries and concussions, the younger players are taught the correct tackling techniques, the better.
“Whatever you learn in first grade I think will stay with you forever. So I think it’s important to get kids early and teach them at first and second early ages proper techniques I think will help them keep those traits forever”