Local experts weigh in on youth football and concussions

Concussions and Youth football

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Every Friday night, millions of kids across the country take the field to participate in high school football.

At least three of those players have died this year from their injuries during games, and as the spotlight on concussion risks continues to grow, some wonder if the popularity of youth and high school football will begin to fade.

Danny Britt, head football coach and athletic director at Benedictine Military School, said concussions are always on his and his coaching staff's minds.

"It's something we're all concerned about, and it's more prevalent because of the size and speed of the kids," said Britt.

He added a lot of this recent attention, especially in the media, is the result of high profile NFL cases

Dr. Stephen Donahue, a neurologist at Savannah Neurology Specialists, said those cases are such a big deal because of the long-term effects of multiple concussions. This can include psychiatric problems, depression and even suicide.

Despite this, Dr. Donahue said he wouldn't discourage parents from letting their children play football. He also believes it's too early to tell if lower participation numbers at schools across the country can be attributed to the fear of concussions.

No matter what the cause, Coach Britt says now, more than ever, there is so much being done to prevent concussions. His staff focuses on three main areas: strength training, proper technique and helmet safety.

Both Dr. Donahue and Coach Britt say education is the absolute best prevention, especially, for parents.

"Get all the facts, who is your son playing for, talk to the coach see what they do to prevent it," said Coach Britt. "Know who your kid is playing for and if you're comfortable with that person, you should be just fine."

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