NFL safety rules trickle down to keep young athletes safer


High school football is changing.

Student athlete John David Johnson said, "When we were younger, we would hit full on every day as hard as we can."

But no more. Last year, Johnson suffered a concussion during a Kinkaid High School game.

"I blacked out, was dizzy, kind of saw stars," he recalled.

It was three weeks before he was cleared to return to play. Teammate Dawson Smith suffered a concussion and sat out his playoff games.

"I went to the locker room and everything was a blur," Smith said. "I was nauseous, really dizzy and i just started vomiting."

Their concussions were recognized quickly and treated. Young players are the beneficiaries of new safety rules that started in the NFL.

"We have a responsibility to football at all levels," said Texans General Manager Rick Smith. "Hopefully we're setting an example and that's why we talk about getting the head out of the game."

Jimmy Roton, Jr., head athletic trainer for Kinkaid, said, "With the pro sports doing all that, it's trickled down to us. We're doing the impact test, your helmets have to be certified."

The new protections are important because doctors say younger players are more susceptible to injury when they keep playing after a concussion.

"If your son or daughter does get a concussion, you need to treat it properly to make sure we don't cause any long term effects from it," explained Kenneth Podell, PhD, with the Houston Methodist Concussion Center.

High school players are getting the message that they're safer because of these changes.

"Risking my brain's health for a year of high school football, it's not worth it," Smith said.

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