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Youth football leagues work to maintain safety, prevent injuries

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Albany/HV: Youth football leagues work to maintain safety, prevent injuries
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From high school gridirons to NFL stadiums, America's biggest sport is back. But, with a high profile debate raging on concussions in the pros, some NFL officials are worried about the sport's long term popularity. YNN's Christian Farrell talks with youth football parents about head injuries.

NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- Are you ready for some football? Youngsters in the Orange County Youth Football League certainly are. It is week one of their season, and Danny Lorenzo has his eyes on his son Jayden, 7, who is playing in his very first football game.

"It I did it when I was young, I don't think he'll have a problem when he's young," said Lorenzo.

There are some though, who believe the game has changed, specifically relating to player injuries. Concussions have reached the crisis level in the National Football League. Just this past week, the NFL announced it is joining forces with the U.S. Army to try and tackle the problem.

But, perhaps an even bigger problem is the impact that head injuries are having on the youth leagues. Parents fearful of injury no longer allowing their kids to score touchdowns or make tackles.

"I know a lot of parents that don't put their boys in because they don't want any injuries, but they can get injured playing any sport," noted Andrea Granieri, a grandparent.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is taking a proactive approach with the problem at the pee-wee level.

"We're working with coaches to make sure they're certified, and understand not just proper techniques, but also to recognize when someone needs medical attention," explained Goodell.

The Sports Concussion Sideline Card is just one example of how the attention being given to head injuries is making its way down to the youth football level. The concussion tip sheet is carried by coaches on the sidelines. Newburgh Youth Football Coach, James Ludvick, has also undergone a league mandated concussion safety class.

"Its a coaching course that gives you an awareness about first aid, in addition to, specifically concussions," explained Ludvick. "Its just so that you understand as a coach what to look for, and just don't say shake it off. The old days of 'hey, shake it off', is just not working anymore."

And for some parents, it is that new approach that will keep their kids in the game.

"I think they pretty much have everything under control," mentioned Lorenzo.

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