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Follow current news and information regarding Health and Safety at
USA Football’s Blog.

Follow current news and information regarding concussions at the CDC’s
Heads Up for Youth Sports page.

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The game of life is a lot like football.

You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.
—Lewis Grizzard

In life, like in football, the easy route is rarely an option.

Reflecting early America, football fields are wide and open, but a stout defense – like challenging terrain – can hinder the most determined advance. And great teams are united, like the states we call home. By playing this sport, young athletes learn football’s timeless qualities of leadership, responsibility, perseverance and teamwork. The passion evoked by football is as timeless as its values of sacrifice and discipline, standing forever firm regardless of society’s swings.

Every year, nearly 3 million children age 6 to 14 take to football fields across America to play the game they love. They may not realize it, but these young athletes are enjoying the benefits of physical exercise while learning life lessons through the sport. Studies show that being physically active through football lowers body fat, strengthens muscles and increases the likelihood of continuing good health habits later in life. Football introduces young players to new social groups and to a set of coaches who serve as role models. Research shows athletes tend to have higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of depression. To the kids, though, the game is about fun, friendships and camaraderie. It’s about achieving success or learning from failure then lining right back up to try again. Football has captured America’s imagination for a century, but its best days are still ahead. There’s no better time to be a part of the game than right now. —USA Football

Newton Braves Youth Football League

is a non-profit entity fully operated and managed by volunteers for the benefit of our community's youth. We rely primarily on fund-raising and sponsor support, without which we'd be non-existent. "THANK YOU!" to all our sponsors, donors, and all those who support the wonderful works of NBYFL.

Athletes need Sleep as much as they need Fuel (food) and Hydration!

Adequate sleep is just as important to a young athlete’s health as physical training and nutrition. With the help of parents and coaches, young athletes should be taught and embrace the importance of sleep so they can reach their full potential both on and off the field.

Today’s young athletes, particularly those in high school, are faced with the challenge of trying to balance and prioritize their schedules. Aside from the competitive demands of one’s organization, many athletes also pursue individual activities such as private lessons and structured off-field conditioning programs. The time an aspiring athlete spends training, coupled with that of scholastic and social demands, which increase every year, often leaves many feeling tired, both physically and mentally. For a variety of reasons, rest and recuperation often becomes neglected and as a result many student athletes become sleep deprived. Attitude, mood, and performance in the classroom and on the field may be adversely affected by lost sleep. Although individual needs may vary, sleep researchers suggest that the optimal length of uninterrupted sleep for the adolescent athlete is about 9.2 hours a night. (Nitka, 02) Sleep deprivation is accumulative, meaning that an athlete getting only 7 hours a night will have accumulated a sleep debt of 10 hours by the weekend. Getting an extra 2-3 hours of sleep on the weekend may make one feel better initially but it often translates into feeling tired and irritable on Monday morning as they feel the effects of their accumulated sleep debt. Athletes who are sleep deprived, will likely feel lethargic during training sessions and may display a lower tolerance for frustration when performing challenging exercises or when attempting to learn a new skill or strategic concept. Furthermore, inadequate sleep can negatively affect reaction times. Even a half-second lapse in reaction time can prevent a goalie from making a save or result in a player losing a crucial defensive position, which ultimately can decide the outcome of a game. Lack of sleep can magnify such psychological factors as stress, anxiety and in some cases depression, while increasing one’s perceived exertion and fatigue. If this occurs, an athlete can become emotionally unstable and less confident in their abilities to perform.

Young athletes are training harder than ever, making the need for adequate sleep extremely vital to recovery and regeneration. During each game or training session, stress is placed on the body and muscle tissue is broken down with energy stores being depleted. Along with sound nutrition, it is during sleep that the body releases powerful growth hormones which are responsible for muscle repair and growth. If sufficient recovery is not achieved prior to the next training session, the desired adaptations will not occur and the athlete, with rightful intentions, may in fact be doing more harm than good. If this pattern persists it eventually creates a physiological breakdown causing the body to perform at less than 100%. For athletes recovering from injuries or battling sickness, the importance of sleep becomes heightened. During sleep, our bodies stop all but the most essential functions allowing the immune and lymphatic system’s effects to be fully realized. Young athletes need more sleep than their inactive peers and should act to ensure that they are getting enough quality sleep. Establishing a regular sleep schedule can help in doing so. The body’s internal biological clock sets a daily or circadian rhythm which determines when one feels tired or alert. Inconsistent sleep patterns disrupts this rhythm and can increase the time it takes to fall asleep. Many athletes experience trouble falling asleep the night before a game in part due to nerves but going to bed at a consistent time each night can help to combat this problem. Creating an optimal environment will also improve the quality of sleep. Aim for complete darkness as this signals the brain it is time to sleep. Even the light from an electrical clock or screen saver can impede the release of the hormone Melatonin, which among other things works to regulate sleep. Loud or sudden noises can startle a person and disrupt sleep as well as increasing the time it takes to fall asleep. A fan or earplugs can be used to mask or reduce external noise. A mattress should provide both comfort and support so there is no discomfort upon waking in the morning and be large enough to accommodate the numerous postural shifts which occur during sleep. Researchers suggest that 18°C is the optimal room temperature and any large deviation from this range may adversely affect the quality of sleep (Nitka).

Adequate sleep is just as important to a young athlete’s health as physical training and nutrition. With the help of parents and coaches, young athletes should be taught and embrace the importance of sleep so they can reach their full potential both on and off the field.

Newton Braves Youth Football League strongly recommends all players receive a Baseline Test at the beginning of each season

To accurately diagnose a concussion, it helps to have measurements of the brain’s activity both before and after it has sustained injury...[Read More]
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Parents have a lot of questions about whether to let their children play youth and high school football

USA Football, the medical community and others are seeking real answers to help them make those decisions. “I think parents whose kids have played football in the past are comfortable,” Felix Festa (N.Y.) Middle School coach John Fitzgerald said…[Read More]

knowledge awareness safety

Safety is enhanced with
Knowledge and Preparation.


should start
and games

stretching safety

Conditioning, Proper Nutrition, Sleep Wellness, Heat Preparedness, Hydration, Proper-Fitting Equipment -
All important factors adding to health safety for athletes.

When you have confidence,
you can have a lot of fun.
And when you have fun,
you can do amazing things.
--Joe Namath
(*1943, former NFL quarterback)

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SLEEP!... It's critical.

© 2014 SZ LLC