I spent most of Saturday covering Pop Warner football games. Here's the photo essay, if anyone's interested. It's funny how ideas sometimes come to us later. The photo essay I did was a day of football, from 7-year-old flag footballers to 13-year-olds, some of whom were bigger and stronger than I am. But I couldn't help noticing the head injuries a few kids sustained during the games.
Concussions are a big issue in pro football, with medical staffs now prohibiting players from re-entering games. There's also talk about protecting high school football players. I'm attempting to spend some time with the medical staff at the Pop Warner games in the next few weeks to learn more about head injuries to 9- and 10-year-olds.
Kids see the ESPN highlight reels of vicious helmet-to-helmet blows and go out head hunting in their own games as a result. Maybe my hunch is wrong and there's no concussion issue at all at that level. There's also no guarantee I'll get to hang out with any medical personnel and nail down a story of some kind, but I'll keep ya posted on my progress.