Parents Say The Acquired Knowledge Will Go A Long Way Toward Protecting Their Kids

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Concussion awareness in football is drawing much greater interest. How safe is the sport? Should you let your kids play? The NFL is out to educate the gatekeepers of the family, mothers.

The Associated Press conducted a poll revealing that 44 percent of parents questioned were not comfortable with their children playing football. The NFL took notice, and started a clinic to educate mothers thinking of letting their sons and daughters play football, CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reported Wednesday.

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“Shoot,” “rip,” and “buzz” are phrases you’d normally hear on a football field, but not a field full of moms.

“Without the knowledge, I can’t protect them. I need to know what they’re doing, what they’re wearing, how it should be fitting. In all sports, as relevant as it is to football, they play all sports, too,” parent Laura Sugg said.

Forty mothers attended the Moms Football Safety Clinic at the Jets’ facility, a comprehensive program centered on concussion awareness and education.

“If you’re suspecting concussions, no anti-inflammatories; no Advil, Motrin, aspirin (or) Aleve. Tylenol is the only safe one,” Atlantic Health physician Dean Padavan instructed the moms.

After a four-year decline, high school football participation last year was up 2.3 percent, Overmyer reported, and so is the concussion rate.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, the traumatic brain injuries suffered by high school-age athletes playing sports over the past decade has increased by 60 percent.

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“You’re never going to fully be able to prevent concussions, but if we can make people aware and teach them how to better deal with them when they do happen it makes an overall better situation,” master trainer Chris Capezzuto said.

Even though a whopping 265 NFL players were placed on injured reserve, concussions at the pro level were down 25 percent from last year, Overmyer reported.

“Football is more than just playing the sport. It’s also about camaraderie and supporting one another,” said Tasha Andrews of the Bronx.

“I had so much fun. It was amazing. It really was,” added Felicia Vargas of the Bronx.

“It’s not every day a mom gets to go out and hit the pads. Now I have that on video to show my kids,” Sugg added.

The NFL also has a new concussions rule this year. Independent neurologists will be at every game and can call a time out if they see a disoriented player.

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In addition, hundreds of high school and college teams are using in-helmet accelerometers to measure force on every hit, Overmyer reported.