Youth Athletes In Brooklyn Took The Program's Lessons To Heart

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — In August the NFL settled a historic lawsuit involving head injuries, on Saturday local youth football players received an important and potentially life saving lesson.

The $765-million settlement, was a payment from the NFL to more than 4,000 former players who have suffered from lasting neurological disorders and concussions as a result of hits taken on the field.

Former NFL coach and CBS Sports Analyst Bill Cowher was on hand on Saturday and emphasized the importance of making the game safer, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported.

“They’re taking steps right now to make the game safer. They’re taking steps to try to help players who have played in the past,” he said.

Cowher added that it was important to impart those steps to the next generation of football players, and young athletes in Williamsburg, Brooklyn seemed to agree.

“I worry about it all the time,” Stefhone McCombs said.

Coach Cowher broke down techniques that could prevent serious brain damage down the road.

“Teaching them what to look for from a concussion standpoint, how to fit the helmets and shoulder pads on the players,” he said.

It was all part of the Heads Up program which certifies coaches to teach young players skills that could preserve their health.

“That’s one of the things that we instill in our kids is safety first,” Youth Military Football League coach Joe Ramos said.

Even though all players are required to wear helmets hard hits can still have lasting effects.

“We want to make sure that they’re well aware of the actual implications that could come from such a rigorous sport as this,” Shauntay Hernandez said.

If your child is hit there are warning signs that could indicate a concussion.

Headaches, pressure in the head, nausea, vomiting, balance problems, dizziness, blurry vision, light sensitivity, and memory problems could all signal a problem.

Majest Hall told CBS 2’s Burrell that he was taking Saturday’s lessons to heart.

“I really want to play football and if I get hurt then I can’t play,” he said.

For teams in Williamsburg the goal is to play competitively and safely.

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