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Springtown Lions Club

Play Safe


A Statement by Dave Ogrean, Former USA Football Executive Director

Every year, more than 12 million kids play football, and that number is ever-growing.

The well-being of young players is promoted through finely detailed safety practices and age/weight standards. Over the years, youth football leagues have adjusted the rules of the game to reduce the risk of injuries.

Evidence of the direct result of football's strict guidelines at the youth level is displayed in an analysis by the Mayo Clinic that indicated in a 2002 report that "the risk of injury in youth football does not appear greater than other recreational or competitive sports." In fact, the report stated that "youth football injuries are uncommon." 

Two of the nation's premiere youth football organizations, Pop Warner and American Youth Football, set high safety standards for their players and coaches. Players are grouped according to their age and weight, in order to avoid mismatches, and different divisions are designed to overlap in age to offer maximum opportunity for safe participation.

Another important precaution at the youth level is the proper fitting of equipment. Youth leagues ensure that all players have high quality helmets, padding, and other gear when on the playing field, which greatly minimizes the risk of injury.

The fact that most injuries are predictable, and thus preventable, should make the issue of injury non-problematic. However, the most significant problems involving injury arise when players do not notify coaches or adults that they have been injured. Re-injury is also a common problem when both players and coaches do not allow proper time for injuries to heal. These problems are easily avoidable through instructing players to report injuries and afterwards insisting on the resolution of injuries before a return to participation.

While no physical activity will ever be totally free of injury, youth football programs are continually working to improve themselves and ensure that more kids each year benefit from the sport's many lessons.


With our season kicking off we want to strongly encourage you parents to prepare our children for the BRUTAL heat we will be encountering. Please drink plenty of water, I can't stress this enough. Carbonated drinks are NOT GOOD  for your athlete in this extreme heat. Get acclimated to the weather by getting out of the house into the sun for at least 2 hours a day before we begin practicing. 


The role that parents play in the life of a young athlete has a tremendous impact on their experience. Here are some reminders to help keep this in mind.

Let the coaches coach: Leave the coaching up to the coaches. This includes motivating your child for practice, after game critiquing, setting goals, requiring additional training, etc. You have entrusted the care of your player to these coaches and they need to be free to do their job. If a player has too many coaches, it is confusing for him and his performance will usually decline. This doesn't mean there is anything wrong with spending time with your child on your own throwing the ball around or shooting hoops but do it as a parent not as a coach.

Support the program: Get involved. Volunteer! Help out with fundraisers, car-pool, anything to support the program.

Be your child's best fan: Support your child unconditionally. Do not withdraw love when your child performs poorly. Your child should never have to perform to win your love.

Support and root for all players on both teams: Foster teamwork. Your child's teammates are not the enemy, nor is the other team. When you children’s teammates are playing better than your child or the other team is playing better than your child's team, your child has an important opportunity to learn.

Do not bribe or offer incentives: Your job is not to motivate. Leave this to the coaches and their staff. Bribes will distract your child from focusing on team play.

Encourage your child to talk with the coaches: If your child is having difficulties in practice or games, or can't make a practice, etc., encourage them to speak directly to the coaches. This "responsibility taking" is a big part of the learning process. By handling the off-field tasks, your child is claiming ownership of all aspects of the game.

Understand and display appropriate game behavior: Remember, your child's self-esteem and game performance is at stake. Be supportive and cheer. To perform to the best of their ability, a player nees to focus on the parts of the game they can control; fitness, positioning, decision making, skill, aggressiveness, etc.. If they start to focus on things they can not control; field conditions, the referee, the weather, the opponent, etc., they will not play up to their ability.

Monitor eating and sleeping habits: Be sure your child is eating the proper foods and getting adequate rest.

Help your child set the right priorities: Help your child maintain a focus on schoolwork, relationships, church, God and other things in life besides sports. Also, if the child has committed to a sport make sure that the commitment is kept.

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