Youth Football FAQ

Q: My child is interested in playing youth football and I am nervous about safety, is it safe for my child to play? 

A: Injury can happen in any sport and there is always a risk that your child could be injured, but safety, technology, and training of coaches in football has improved dramatically over the years. 

Q: I have heard that there have been revisions to the game of youth football. Is this true?

A: Youth football today is a much different game than it was even 10 years ago. Many of the heading and drills that were done in the past are no longer a part of football. You will see these changes from Optimist Youth Football up to and including the NFL. There are also protocols and procedures put in place for both injury prevention as well as return to play after an injury. All of these measures are relatively new and have significantly changed the game of football.

Q: I have seen athletic trainers on the sidelines; what are they and what do they do?

A: Athletic trainers are health care professionals who work under the direction of a Sports Medicine physician treating sports related injuries and illnesses. Athletic trainers also act as first responders at sporting events such as high school athletic events, club sports, and rodeos, among others. Once at an event, our athletic trainers have varying duties depending on each athlete’s needs. These can include prepping the athlete for the event, whether it be wrapping an ankle, or applying Kinesiology tape. The trainer may also have to assess and treat an injury such as a sprained wrist or a concussion, coordinating care with a sports medicine physician as needed. After an athlete sustains an injury, the athletic trainer, along with a trained physician, are then in charge of deciding whether or not the athlete can safely return to the event or if they must remain on the sidelines. Athletic trainers and physicians are extremely helpful when it comes to sporting events because they take the pressure off of the coaches when it comes to making the last call regarding the athlete’s health.

Q: Is my son going to get a concussion if he plays football?

A: Football is a contact sport, and just like other contact sports (soccer, lacrosse) there is an element of risk of an injury or concussion. However, there are many measures put in place today to minimize those injuries. There is a significant focus with our coaches and athletic trainers on injury prevention. It is our belief that the rewards of playing any sport far outweigh that risk of injury.

Q: I am concerned with the amount of time for practice; how do most parents accommodate this time commitment?

A: Depending on the team and age, there are different time commitments that are required for practices and games. Regardless, there is a time commitment involved for both athletes and parents. We encourage families to communicate and form car pools and help each other out. This can be great for families to get to know one another and form their own support groups and friendships. We encourage parents to work together as a team just like their athletes are on the field.

Q: What is a Sports Medicine doctor, and how are they different than my primary care provider? 

A: Sports medicine focuses on helping people improve their athletic performance and prevent future injury as well as recover from past injury. Many can benefit from sports medicine, not just athletes. Any patient who may be suffering an injury sustained from an athletic or physical lifestyle, or is looking to prevent injury, can meet with a sports medicine specialist. People of all ages are welcome to meet with one as well. Many children and teens who are involved in sports may require the expertise found in sports medicine. While many children and teens involved in sports may require the expertise found in sports medicine, active adults can, too. Those who work in physically demanding work environments where they need to have sufficient strength in order to carry out their daily tasks successfully can work alongside a sports medicine doctor as well.

Q: Is it important for my child to play football year round or should he play other sports as well?

A: We do not encourage playing one sport year round. We encourage kids to play as many sports as possible. This will reduce the chance of “overuse” injuries and help your child to be more of a well-rounded athlete, which will in turn lead to greater success.