Play Hard the Safe Way

Football coaching legend Vince Lombardi once said, “Football is not a contact sport, it’s a collision sport.”

While this couldn’t be more true, it obviously shows that the game of football is not the safest sport out there. So the question becomes, How in the world of clashing pads and flying bodies do I keep my kid safe?

Well there are a few tips that are obvious and some that you may not have known:


Without question before participating in any kind of football activity it is essential to ensure that you/your player are properly fitted with the right equipment.

  • Meaning that all pads should fit properly (knee pads, thigh pads and shoulder pads.) Failure to do so can result in serious injury to areas of the body those pads are designed to protect.
  • The most important of all equipment is the helmet. It is absolutely crucial that a helmet fits correctly. The problem in organizations like youth football programs, is that there is not always a trainer or medical personnel qualified to properly fit players for helmets. fortunately for those who may not have a lot of experience with the matter, helmet manufacturers provide detailed instructions that will give all the correct procedure to get the perfect fit.

I played football for 8 years and I’ll tell you as a player these tips aren’t always accepted. But why? Would would a player risks their safety and risk serious injury by not following these procedures? Well simple, we wanna look cool. And cool isn’t bulky thigh pads and shoulder pads or a helmet that doesn’t match our “style”. Crazy right? But it is reality I can count many times that ive settled for a helmet that didn’t fit right but man did it look cool. That’s why as coaches, parents and trainers you must make sure that your players equipment it’s exactly what they NEED not necessarily what they want.


Of course the biggest risk of injury when playing football is during a tackle. Everyone one loves a big hit, but the wrong technique can end in tragic results. Just this past year we saw the extremes in football injury when Rutgers University player Eric LeGrand ended up paralyzed due to a neck injury suffered on the field.

They key is to show players how to tackle. One of the basic and most successful form of teaching proper tackling is a drill called Form Tackling.


One thing that ive noticed in youth football is that many kids are afraid to hit or get hit because they don’t want to get hurt. Know this: If you play not to get hurt, you will put yourself in more danger of getting injured. The reason being is while your out on the field playing cautious or not going full speed, there will be someone on the opposition who is going full speed and if he hits you, well…you’ll be on the wrong end of that collision. Play hard, play safe and protect yourself at all times.