It never ceases to amaze me, how the time goes.
One moment he’s this sweet little boy that you spend your days keeping out of harm’s way,
and the next, he’s taller than both of you,
My oldest, Peter, is entering high school this year, and to him a football field is his field of dreams. He loves baseball (a nice non-contact sport), but he lives and breathes football every month of the year. He’s played ever since he was eligible in second grade, and when he’s not playing he’s watching ESPN, or YouTube videos of amazing football moments, or relaying stats to me while I cook dinner, about some college football player who he envisions to be the first draft pick this year. He reads books on sports heroes and writes papers on his favorite football player of all time, Walter Payton. He waited impatiently for this season to start and on day one of captain’s practices he was the first to arrive at the field, an hour before schedule, fired up, ready to go.
Despite the fact that he has grown into a strapping young lad, I’m still his mama. I want to keep him little, safe and sound, encase him in bubble-wrap, but alas, I’ve got to let him, along with his brother and sister, go out into the world and have experiences. Although I often find myself holding my breath when I watch him play – please, please keep him safe – there is nothing quite like that elation I see in him after a great game, and I know he is having the time of his life out there.
As the years have gone on my little guy has joined the football ranks too.
For both of my boys, and all their friends, I’m so glad to see the emphasis put on safety by our youth football program as well as at the high school level. Every year before the season begins, Peter’s high school requires all players to take a concussion baseline test. The test assesses a player’s concentration, memory and balance, as well as ruling out present concussion symptoms.
Sports safety is a huge concern of mine and knowing that many of you are parents as well, I wanted to share a program that is funded by the NFL: Heads Up Football. Have you heard of it? The program was created to educate parents, coaches, clinicians and kids about concussion prevention and symptoms, proper tackling technique and helmet safety.
The NFL has also advocated for the passage of youth concussion laws in every state, so, for example, a player does not continue to play in a game after showing signs of a concussion. In addition, the NFL has committed over $60 million to medical research on new ways to protect the brain and address head injuries. To learn more about Heads Up Football, check out this site: www.nflevolution.com.