Parents and Pop-Warner program say they know the risk of head injuries in football
NORWOOD PARK, SYRACUSE---On this summer night Norwood Park in Syracuse's Eastwood neighborhood is full of Pop-Warner players.
"It allows them to interact and know that team effort and sportsmanship. Things they can carry throughout life, not just on the football field," explained Jennifer Hill.
Parents and coaches say they know injuries are possible. Both obvious ones like broken bones, and the ones you can't see.
"I think science is finally catching up to our sport, and that's why there's such an influence with what's happening with CTE and it's getting pushed down to the youth level," said John Falgiatano, Football Commissioner for CNY Pop-Warner.
CNY Pop-Warner officials say safety comes first, and while doctors keep finding CTE in deceased athletes, Pop-warner is trying to be proactive.
"From the 10 year-old level down they've eliminated the kickoff, which is one of the biggest incidents you can have for concussions because of the amount of speed people are getting," said Falgiatano.
Marvien Coston's son had several concussions playing college football her youngest is in Pop-Warner.
"Get some information so even if no one else sees the signs, we know our children. We will be able to see those signs," said Coston.
"Making sure they look up with they're tackling not down, cause that's how the neck injuries happen," said Hill, "the coaches are really good they won't put them in any equipment until they've learned the techniques."
Pop-Warner staff say though helmets have evolved and become safer, it's their job to keep kids safe- no matter where they put on their helmet in the future.