Youth Football Safety


There are a few things the state of Texas is known for. Rodeos, good barbeque, and, of course, our love for football. Nowhere is that appreciation for sports truer than here in Sherman, where many families are preparing for the upcoming football season. Sherman’s own Youth Sports Association has just finished their summer football camp where children as young as 7 years old got special training for their favorite sport.

As kids get ready for the new football season, though, many parents are worried about their safety. Does football cause concussions? Are my kids at a higher risk for being injured?

Red River ER, in support of all our local teams and in honor of Youth Sports Safety Week, want to talk about some of these concerns with parents. The more your family knows about the risks of football, the more prepared everyone will be to get in the game.

Is Football Safe?

For many parents, this is a big concern. Even parents who grew up playing football themselves might wonder if football today, with new equipment and strategies, is as safe as it used to be. There are more reports of sports injuries on the news, and the risk for concussions in tackle football are the subject of study for many doctors. This can be alarming for many parents.

In general, contact sports like tackle football have a higher risk for injury, but if your child is playing safe with proper equipment and guidance from a qualified coach, then their chances for getting injured go down. For teenagers who are interested in playing tackle football, do a bit of research on the coaches at their school. Make sure they have good experience, and make sure your child is well-equipped to go into practice.

For younger children who are interested in football, letting them play tackle football at a young age might not be the best option. Look into Flag Football leagues in your community instead! Flag Football is safer for young children while still teaching them the skills of their favorite sport.

Equipping Your Child for Football

For older kids entering tackle football teams, equipment is incredibly important. While some school teams might have practice gear that kids can borrow, these hand-me-down pads and helmets might not be safe for your child to use. For padded equipment to be truly safe, they need to be fitted properly for your child’s height and proportions. Parents will want to get engaged with their child’s football team and really look at what they might need to play. In general, the most important pieces of equipment are:

  • Helmets with chin straps and face guards
  • Shoulder, hip, tail-bone, and knee pads which fit securely on your child, without constricting their movement or sliding out of place
  • Thigh guards which fit appropriately with uniform pants and do not slip out of place, similar to padding fits
  • Mouth guards with keeper straps, to protect the teeth, cheeks, tongue, and jawbone
  • Shoes with non-detachable, rubber cleat soles and good interior padding for feet. Make sure to double-check with coaches to be aware of the shoes requirements for your child’s football league.
  • Non-shatter eyeglasses or contact lenses for any children who need corrective vision in order to play

There may be special requirements made by your child’s football league or school, so as you buy equipment, be communicative with the coach about what you need to keep your child safe during practice and games.

Getting Sports Physicals

A vital part of ensuring your child’s safety and wellness while playing sports is getting a sports-specific physical. These exams are different from your usual annual doctor visits because they are tailored to make sure your child is ready to play sports. For contact sports like football, it is even more important for families to get these physicals done regularly. Before every season, your child should get a PPE (Preparticipation Physical Exam), and, of course, every child should see a doctor if they get hurt during a game or at practice.

These physicals help parents and children evaluate where they are physically, and how they should play their favorite game. Some kids might need to take rest periods and sit out for a few weeks. This can leave kids feeling left out or have low self-confidence because they can’t play. In those cases, parents need to be supportive and keep a positive attitude, reminding their kids that healing properly is the best thing for them. Teach your kids that there is no shame in recovery and create a household culture that respects and values healing.

In the event of any football accidents or injuries, it is always advised that parents seek emergency care for their child. Red River ER is open 24/7, even on holidays, so if your primary care physician is out of the office, we here at Red River ER are always ready to treat children of all ages.

Red River ER supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Red River ER, or any one of our concierge-level, medical facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

For more information Contact us .

Phone: 903-357-5003