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Practice Changes to Protect Youth Football Players

By Kelly Dudzik, WGRZ, 03/13/19, 12:00PM CDT

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"We said this is a good idea, and this is a way that, you know, football should be going because it does make it safer," 

A Cheektowaga-based youth football association is changing its policies when it comes to full-contact practices. The goal is to protect players from head injuries. "It's as safe as we can make football," Joseph D’Amaro said. D'Amaro is the Cheektowaga Little Loop Athletic Association Chairman and is part of the Niagara Erie Youth Sports Association, Western New York's largest youth football organization, with more than 3,000 kids.

Before bouncing back up recently, the league saw a drop in the number of players participating in football. "About three years ago, Niagara Erie Youth Sports Association, NEYSA, and the President Ray Turpin instituted the USA Football's national practice guidelines. The national practice guidelines allowed teams to practice full contact but restricted us to 90 minutes per week. Before then, it was a free for all," D’Amaro said.