Former NFL Players visit local high school, talk player safety
Chattanooga (WTVC) —
Experts say the number of kids playing football is lower than ever, now that new studies show the real dangers of hard hits to the head.
Wednesday night, former NFL players visited Chattanooga to educate moms on new safety measures for players.
Former Falcons linebacker Buddy Curry started "Kids and Pros" fifteen years ago.
The organization inspires kids to play football, by learning and interacting with former professional football players.
Curry played for the Falcons back in the 1980's. He says then, no one knew about the long-term effects of hard hits on the field.
"When I played, when you got a concussion it was called a 'ding' and you just shook it off and got back in the game and know now that the brain needs to be healed before there's actually more contact," Curry explained.
At Notre Dame High School Wednesday night, Curry wanted to show moms that those who love the game are working to keep kids safe on the field.
Some of Curry's old teammates joined in.
"The mothers, as all people know, are the ones who make the decisions in the household. Especially when it comes to their kids and they need to be, really, kind of assured that their kids are in a safe environment, the sport is safe, they're being taught the right lessons and that's what this is all about," Chattanooga local and former Falcons running back Gerald Riggs said.
Deanna Roberts has a 10 year old son who plays here in Chattanooga.
"Just to learn some safety for football," she said. "The concerns I have such as concussions that you see in the news just to make sure I'm aware of what the signs are and what to look for and then it's a girls night out just to have some fun too!"
Curry says they're hands on and show the moms exactly how they're tackling the issue.
"They're going to learn about helmet and shoulder pad fitting," Curry said. "They're going to learn about, 'These are the drills your son, or daughter, needs to learn so they'll keep the head out of the tackle.'"
ESPN reports football sign ups for teenagers have decreased over the past 6 years by almost 20 percent.
ABC news says football is not the sport with the most concussions, it's actually horseback riding.