JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Even the blustery cold couldn’t stop young athletes with JDL Providence Football from getting out on the field to practice their morning drills.

Lauren Baughman has two young sons who play in the JDL Providence Football program.

“Football provides an opportunity for both of them to succeed,” Baughman said.

Football is fun but it can also be dangerous, too.

Local coaches say taking a hard blow on a football field like the one at Providence High School can lead to serious injuries if proper techniques aren’t taught.

On Wednesday, Action News Jax watched players demonstrate how to do a shoulder tackle where players make contact with their shoulders instead of their head.

Of course with any high contact sport like football, there is a greater risk for a head injury like a concussion.

As a physical therapist and a coach, Scott Haak told Action News Jax these are some signs parents should look out for.

“If they have headache, dizziness, sensitivity to light or they just don’t feel well, maybe nauseated or just low energy,” Haak, President of JDL Providence Football, said.

Not only has way the game is played changed, but the technology has too. Coaches are using smart helmets and iPads to help detect injuries.

“If they get hit, we can test them on the field and if they’re slower on the King-Devick test, we pull them. We’re probably going to pull them anyway because, if in doubt we sit them out.”

Baughman said it’s the coaches’ dedication to the player’s well-being that keeps her family coming back each year.

“It really has provided us an opportunity for the boys to play a sport they really love and learn it in a safe environment,” she said.

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