School District Football Focuses on Safe Techniques to Prevent Injury
Treatment, equipment make big differences in keeping teams healthy
ANCHORAGE - It is halftime for football season in Anchorage, just as we're hearing news about retired football players who are now suffering the consequences of taking hits on the field.
Now there is a community effort to successfully preserve the future of young athletes.
Love hurts sometimes, just ask Dimond High Receiver Ryan Brady. “I had a concussion once.”
He’s just one of many athletes who put their bodies on the line to play a game he loves. “You give and receive hits all the time in football. That's how you play the game.”
Right now, the Dimond High School football team is in the heart of the season and with playoffs just two weeks away, coaches are doing everything they can to keep a healthy team.
“I've only had about so far, one or two players complain of symptoms,” said head coach Chris Borst. “I've held one player out, our standard, to get reviewed.”
Borst has been with the team for 12 seasons and said he’s seen big changes in his own football career and his coaching career.
“The medical industry has come a long way in trying to treat athletes and trying to heal them, as well as the equipment the players wear today… [it’s] light-years better than it was even not that long ago.”
In the last three years the school has replaced about 50 helmets, which sell for $250 a helmet. And every year they are carefully inspected. The team is only allowed to use a helmet for ten years and the padding is changed regularly.
But Borst said, when you get down to it, “as coaches today, I think that we are more than ever concerned about the safety of our players, and certainly try and do our best to make sure that we put the kids in the best possible position that we can in order keep them safe for their long term.”
So players like Brady can reach their goals of playing college ball, and the Lynx can see the playoffs with a full roster.
According to studies by the NFL and the University of North Carolina, football players who take a lot of hits, like a running back, are more likely to see mental issues later in life: depression, early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s.
As for the boys of the varsity football team at Dimond, they need to win one of their next two games. Fans can catch them on their home turf this Saturday, when they play the undefeated Service Cougars.