Greensboro, NC-- A high school football player can get hit up to 300 times a year season and other research counted 62,000 concussions per year in high school athletes.
Safety has become a high priority in football for several years now and this season, high school football players are coming back to the field with three new helmet safety rules from the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Beginning this season, you cannot hit a player whose helmet comes off during the game. If a player's helmet comes off they have to stop playing immediately and you have to leave the field for at least one play.
Players at Eastern Guilford High talked to WFMY News 2 about the increasing emphasis on safety. " I like it," said Marlon Petty, a 16-year-old rising senior. "I think that my technique overall and the way I play the game has gotten better because it's not just go out there and hit them. I have to focus on what I need to do right."
Joshua Edwards says at 17-years-old even he has noticed how the game has changed over the years in the name of safety. Edwards says he believes new regulations will positively impact the sport.
"I know personally I wouldn't want to be hurt," he said. It's our senior year. I don't want to spend my senior on the sidelines." Many schools across the state and the country employ trainers to help coaches monitor the safety of players on the field.
They are the front-men and women looking at signs of concussions, dehydration and other injuries that could take players out. Jeff Gaffey, a certified athletic trainer, says while new regulations over the years have changed the game, it has been for the better.
"There needs to be some amount of contact during practice but not every day for 90 minutes," he said. "You still get the contact but it's safer contact. You still get the hard hits but it is how they are hitting that's what's changing," said Matthew Helleckson, a trainer with Eastern Guilford High School.
Dr. Ryan Draper with Cone Sports Health encourages parents to get to know their kids' coaches and trainers. He says parents should ask for regular updates on what coaches and trainers are doing to monitor their children's safety.
"We now realize that the effects of multiple concussions or the long term lingering effects of a single bad concussion can be quite detrimental," he said.
According to the CDC, here are some concussion red flags to look for: pressure-headaches, nausea or vomiting, confusion, blurry vision and memory problems.