University of Iowa

Youth, varsity football programs ease concerns over head injury potential

Youth, varsity football programs ease concerns over head injury potential

It’s not your father’s football. Today’s gridiron warriors, starting in youth leagues as young as age 5 and continuing through high school and beyond, are learning how to play a kinder and gentler version of America’s favorite contact sport — in part, because of a growing concern that football can lead to debilitating head injuries.

At least, that’s the idea behind several trends designed to make the sport safer and to attract more participants, say youth league officials such as Ellicott City Patriots president Dave Zeleznik and Towson Recreation Council Spartans football commissioner John Putnam.

Coaches and administrators are starting to emphasize shoulder-first “hawk” or...

43°