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Player Safety

Is Youth Football safe? 

Please enjoy this video of our 2016 ECJF safety protocol, where we were fortunate enough to have Dr. Stanley Herring from the University of Washington. 


Stanley A. Herring, MD, is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician who has been in practice over 30 years. Currently Dr. Herring serves as Medical Director of Sports, Spine and Orthopedic Health for UW Medicine, and he is a clinical professor in the Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine, Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, and Neurological Surgery at the University of Washington. He is Co-Medical Director of the Sports Concussion Program, a partnership of UW Medicine, Harborview Medical Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Dr. Herring holds the Zackery Lystedt Sports Concussion Endowed Professorship. He also serves as one of the team physicians for the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Mariners, and is a consultant for the Seattle Storm and the University of Washington Sports Medicine Program. Dr. Herring’s practice focuses on the diagnosis and management of neurological and musculoskeletal injuries, particularly focusing on spinal disorders in active people and athletes and sports-related concussions.
Dr. Herring has held many national leadership positions including President of the North American Spine Society, member of the Board of Trustees of the American College of Sports Medicine and Board Member of the Foundation for Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. He is also a founding member of the Physiatric Association of Sports, Spine & Occupational Rehabilitation and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. He is a member of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, and the Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee for USA Football. He is also a member of the Medical Advisory Board for Pop Warner Football. Dr. Herring is on the editorial boards of professional journals and has been an editor of nine textbooks, as well as contributor to 65 professional journal articles and 51 textbook chapters. In addition, Dr. Herring is a frequent national and international speaker on a variety of physiatric and sports medicine topics.


What is your definition of "safe?" If it's "safe"="no risk," then youth football is not "safe" and neither is baseball, basketball, riding a bicycle or riding in a car. News about concussions and lawsuits by current and former NFL players has fueled debate about the safety of football from youth to the pros. On the positive side, it is driving increased research, better equipment, rule changes, better coaching and awareness - resulting in a safer game. On the negative side, emotional and tragic stories are leading to reactions based on emotion - not on facts.
Sports and physical activity carry the risk of injury, including concussions. Safety should always be taken very seriously. Most parents are surprised to learn that the risk of injury, including head injury is comparable or even higher in many of the other sports and activities their children participate in. Keeping a child out of youth football to avoid the risk of a head injury, but allowing the child to play baseball, basketball, soccer, ride a bicycle or other activities, doesn't eliminate the risk. Know the facts, know the risks.


Make a Safe sport Safer

Eastside Crusaders Junior Football and the Northwest Junior Football League make player safety our top priority. Our commitment to USA Football and the Heads Up program requires concussion awareness education for coaches, parents and players - and requires training and certification for all coaches covering safety, equipment fitting, proper techniques and more. Research, rule changes, better equipment, increased awareness, improved medical care, and changes in teaching fundamental techniques are making the safe sport of youth football safer.

Eastside Crusaders Junior Football has created the E.C. Concussion Awareness Prevention Program (EC-CAPP), which is a program-wide committment on the part of Eastside Crusaders Junior Football coaches, players and parents to reduce the number of severity of concussions incurred by our participants. For more information, please refer to the document "EC-CAPP Overview". You can also find more information by going to the EC-CAPP page. 

Comparing risks in Youth football to the NFL

The risk of injury, including concussions, increases with each level of play. There is very little, if any, correlation or comparison between the risks faced by youth football players and the risks faced by professional football players. NFL players are adult athletes in the top 0.06%, performing at the peek of their strength, speed and size at the absolute pinnacle of their sport.