Sidelined: Football Parenting

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo — “I enjoy doing things like this around kids,” said Dorial Green-Beckham. “Giving back to the community has always been big to me. We have always been a family out here.”

200 kids swarmed the turf for camp DGB, and Dorial Green-Beckham smiled proudly.

The 40th overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft overlooked Hillcrest’s Shumate Stadium with a different perspective.

“Before the games, I always have him out on the field with me, just so he can experience those type of things.”

DGB wore the Hornet’s jersey proudly 4 years ago. This time, he was back in Springfield, not only as an athlete, but also as a father.

“Especially my own son,” said Green-Beckham.

Balancing the ball, with the safety of his boy.

“It scares me to know that my son is going to have to go through some of those experiences,” said Green-Beckham.

It makes camps like this personal for the Tennessee Titan. Green-Beckham teamed up with players from Missouri State and around the Ozarks to teach Springfield kids the fundamentals.

“Guys have to protect themselves,” said Green-Beckham. “In the NFL, our sport is the hardest to play because guys are sacrificing their bodies and getting concussions, ACL’s, or other big injuries. We have to protect ourselves at this age because we are young professionals. That’s always out biggest focus.”

“The hardest thing, is that when you put on a helmet as a player, you are very much aware of what you are going through, and I am very much aware of the decisions I will make in those situations,” said Kurt Warner.

Kurt Warner spent 12 years in the NFL with the Rams, Giants, and Cardinals.

“Any time anything is outside of you, and you put on a parent hat, you are always trying to protect your kids from everything, but the bottom line is that you cant do it without their help. You need their help in the process. That to me is the hardest part of being a parent,” said Warner.

“The pendulum has swung from you got your bell run, its funny, take some time off and get back in there. Now, it’s I have a concussion, and I going to be okay?” said Jim Raynor.

Jim Raynor is the Administrative Director for Mercy Sports Medicine in Springfield.

“The reality is that concussions have been a part of athletics for quite some time, we just have a better understanding or recognition, adverse effects, management, and the process of someone to fully recover from a concussion,” said Raynor.

In 2012, the NFL launched their Heads Up Football program in hopes of making the sport safer for youth. The program places player safety at the forefront by focusing on proper form, taught by certified coaches.

Research from the Datalys’ Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention, has shown that the program works. In a 2014 study, there was a 76% reduction in injuries in leagues that participated in the Heads Up Program.

Dr. Shannon Woods leads Athletic Training at Cox Health.

“In the last 20 years, there has been a huge explosion in the amount of research in concussions,” said Dr. Shannon Woods.

Dr Woods at Cox Health, recommends that coaches and parents use an app on their smart phone. I downloaded this Concussion, Recognition, and Response app. It takes you step by step in diagnosing a possible concussion, and even gives you information on home symptom monitoring, and return to play guidelines.

“When you talk about concussions, the state of football is in the best place it’s ever been because we are more aware of what’s going on and we are more conscious of those things,” said Kurt Warner.  // I’ve always believed that the key to this whole thing has been communication. We often want to look at teams and medical staff, and that’s part of it, but I have always believed that it starts with the player.”

“Communication is always a big deal in sports medicine,” said Dr. Woods. “Over the last 10 years, that has really been the focus. It was always a part of the upper echelon of sports teams, but what we have seen is a trickle down effect to even the high school levels, that is occurring now,” said Woods.

A trickle down effect, dripping down even into the youngest of football players.

“It’s scary, especially at a young age. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as I think it is,” said Green-Beckham.

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