Protecting the youth of today should be paramount throughout youth sports of all levels of physicality, with head injuries prevalent in many of them. Gamebreaker and our team of Jimmy Clausen and Derek Hagan were recently featured in an article about the KFL Combine that recently took place!
There’s no sure way to prevent an injury on the field, especially in a contact sport, but Kids Football League is doing its best to reduce any harm to its players.
The league hosted around 600 kids at its third annual KFL Combine on Saturday at College View Middle School, and several former NFL and college players were on hand to help show the importance of safety to the players preparing for the upcoming season.
Former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Derek Hagan and former University of Tennessee quarterback Rick Clausen were there as representatives of Gamebreaker Helmets, a soft shell protective headgear company, to properly size the league’s flag football players (5- to 8-year-olds) for helmets, while former Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Malcolm Shepherd served as an NFL Heads Up Ambassador to show proper technique to players in the league’s tackling division (third to sixth grade).
This season will be the first in the partnership between KFL and Gamebreaker Helmets, and league president Todd Humphreys said it was another step in helping prevent injuries as much as possible.
“Every year we look to see what we can do to make it safer,” Humphreys said. “In the offseason, we looked around to see what we can do with flag football. Even though it’s non-contact, parents are still concerned about them bumping into each other.
“I found the Gamebreaker helmets and ordered those, and they sent Derek and Rick out for the first year. They wanted to make sure we knew how to fit the kids, because it’s important that you have an expert to fit them.”
For Hagan, a former third-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2006 and currently a free agent, the importance of head safety hit close to home with the emerging concussion issues in the NFL.
“These days, a lot of parents don’t want their kids playing tackle football because of all the head injuries,” he said. “The biggest issue in the NFL right now is concussions. Guys that played in the 60s, 70s and 80s — now, in 2015, they’re having these head problems.”
Even in flag football, Hagan added, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
“There’s still only one ball on the field, so there’s going to be a collision somehow, someway,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to never have a concussion, but I’ve seen a lot of players that have had head injuries. Now, with these helmets, it’s preventing those bumps and bruises. That’s what we preach. Our first thought is player safety.”
Clausen said he knows first-hand the importance of concussion prevention after suffering a couple during his time at Tennessee.
“Everyone talks about the NFL and talks about the ‘elite of the elite’ who have the best doctors in the world and have basically all the medical care out there at their disposal,” he said. “Our concern, ultimately, is the bottom of the pyramid — the kids that are young and impressionable that are playing sports for the first time, you want them to have a good experience. An injury can prohibit that, and we want to prevent that as much as possible, because you only get one head.
“We’re not trying to change the rules of the game or the way the game is played, we just want to keep them safer.”
For more information on assisting with preventing head injuries using Gamebreaker’s protective headgear click here!