Concussion Concerns: Youth leagues

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Youth football leagues start taking kids as young as five. Sometimes you see them running around with their helmets bobbling.

Coaches say learning how to properly tackle at this age needs to become second nature.

When 12-year-old Cainin Whisenant plays football, getting hurt doesn't cross his mind. His mom, Danielle Bell, on the other hand, thanks about every time one of her three sons gets hit.

Bell says they get up after being hit because of the coaching. "The way they practice they do drills all the time on the proper way, the proper technique to hit."

Eric Pruitt with Morrilton Little Pup Football said, "I think it's about how you go about teaching and coaching and being aware of the safety of your kids."

Pruitt is "Heads Up" certified.

"Heads Up teaches coaches and parents about concussion symptoms. Here's the catch: Sometimes they don't show up until hours or days after a hit. That's where parents come in."

Life Champs Youth Sports Director Rickey Williams says all their coaches need to be "Heads Up" certified. And, parents should be too.

Williams said, "Concussions are a major thing, and it can impact your child for the rest of his life."

Williams played for the University of Arkansas. Now, his son plays football too.

"The NFL has taken a heads-on approach to start at the youth level. They're taking your head out of the game."

They're doing this to keep young brains protected, so kids like Cainin can think about and pursue their dreams.

He said, "I'd like to be an NFL player."

THV11's Alyssa Raymond took the "Heads Up" online training course. It only takes 30 minutes.

She said she learned about how to recognize a concussion, what to do, and how to recover.


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