Football players, coaches changing attitudes on head injury

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Christian Beiter is a Tampa youth football coach who helps his 12-year-old son’s football team.

Like many parents, he’s concerned about concussions, but wants to see his son play football.

“It’s always going to be a concern but if as a parent, I make sure the coaches are coaching correctly, so I think if it’s taught correctly you minimize that risk,” said Beiter.

Beiter says coaching methods and attitudes have changed on the issue.

“A direction a lot of coaches are going when they are teaching that you don’t lead with your head, which was always an issue in the past, ‘just go at ’em,’ and now it’s learning the technique that minimizes that. Before it was ‘suck it up, get back out there.’ Now, because of everything, you are hearing and learning that’s not the case anymore,” said Beiter.

Dr. Patrick Mularoni is helping with a three year study run by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg to look at the issue of concussions.

“Evaluating the athletes before the season and then seeing what they look like after the season,” said Dr. Mularoni.

They are looking at the sports of soccer, football and hockey, taking blood and saliva samples from players and even putting sensors into mouth guards to measure the impact on a players head during games.

Dr. Mularoni believes player’s and coaches are changing the way they deal with head injuries.

“These 16, 18-year-olds or these 14, 18-year-olds, especially the high school students, know so much about concussions, they are the ones that are actually reporting the concussion,” said Mularoni.

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