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17 Montclair Football Moms Get Lesson on Concussion Symptom Awareness

Natalie Heard Hackett

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 • 10:00am

MONTCLAIR, NJ - On Saturday, 17 football moms attended a 'Heads Up Football' tackling clinic hosted by  the coaching staff of the Montclair Recreation/Pop Warner Bulldogs youth football/cheerleading program held at Nishuane Park.  This was the first clinic of this sort in Montclair.

The clinic is part of a nationwide movement of the National Football League (NFL) and USA Football to educate moms of youth football players across the country about the importance proper techniques of tackling to help avoid concussions.  The other important issue covered was that the moms should make sure their athletes are well hydrated before and during practice.

The Montclair football moms came to the clinic eager to learn how to look for symptoms of concussions.  During the clinic, they learned that a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth—causing the brain to bounce around or twist within the skull. This sudden movement of the brain can cause stretching and tearing of brain cells, damaging the cells and creating chemical changes in the brain. 

The proper techniques were demonstrated while the football moms tackled practice pads and were taught to lead without their heads. The clinic concluded with a question and answer session with Montclair certified coaches Frank Best, Glenn Jenkins and Garland Thornton.

“Moms are the backbone of youth football nowadays,” said Montclair Pop Warner Jr. Pee Wee head coach Frank Best. “It’s important to get the moms involved with the daily routines of what their sons are being taught everyday in practice by certified coaches."

"We as coaches, have to look after our players as if they are our own sons,” said Montclair Pee Wee coach Glenn Jenkins. “We will always have the players’ best interest at heart and if a player is not performing to the best of his abilities during practice or a game, then we need to attend to him or her immediately.”

To help spot a concussion, the CDC advises parents to watch for and ask others to report the following two things: 
1. A forceful bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that results in rapid movement of the head. 
2. Any concussion signs or symptoms, such as a change in the athlete’s behavior, thinking, or physical functioning.  
 
Note: Signs and symptoms of concussion generally show up soon after the injury. But the full effect of the injury may not be noticeable at first. For example, in the first few minutes the athlete might be slightly confused or appear a little bit dazed, but an hour later he or she can’t recall coming to the practice or game. You should repeatedly check for signs of concussion and also tell parents what to watch out for at home. Any worsening of concussion signs or symptoms indicates a medical emergency.

The heads up campaign covers all levels of football players from the NFL to the youth leagues to give support to the game of football and the way it is taught, especially to youth players. 

USA Football is the national governing body for amateur American football in the United States. To learn more about the Heads Up program visit www.usafootball.com.

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