AKRON, Ohio - Akron parents, kids and coaches have one less worry to cross off their lists: CONCUSSIONS.
That's because members of Akron's Parent Pee Wee Football League received new helmets today, and from some very important people.
The National League Football Commissioner, Roger Goodell, the Cleveland Browns General Manager Tom Heckert, and even Football Hall of Famers like the Houston Oilers Warren Moon were there to hand about 125 youth football players brand new helmets.
Warren Moon said, "Even though I played 17 years in the National Football League, I got my first concussion when I was 11-years-old playing Pop Warner Football," said Moon.
It's those serious brain injuries to even the youngest of players that created the push for USA Football's latest, nationwide initiative, the Youth Football Safety and Helmet Replacement Program. The group joined with other NFL giants to curb concussions by requiring leagues to replace helmets 10 years or older.
Cleveland was selected for the pilot program a few months ago where about 2,800 players countrywide received new gear. The problem with enforcing the requirement is, not all leagues can afford to replace the headgear.
USA Football, as a means to help the leagues in need, made it so leagues could apply for grants and receive the helmets for f ree. Saturday, the Akron Parent Pee Wee Football League and all of its members were presented with their new equipment.
Vance Woodall has a grandson playing in the Akron league and said, "This is beautiful man, it really is. We appreciate everything they're doing for us. The helmets -- the best thing coming. They're nice, they really are. We really appreciate that."
According to the Center for Disease Control, football produces some of the greatest numbers of traumatic brain injuries, especially at the high school level.
Those who partnered with USA Football to make the Youth Football Safety and Helmet Replacement Program possible say they're taking these statistics seriously and are working with all levels of the sport, from youth to college, to change their safety requirements.