Football has experienced safety changes in recent years

Football equipment has improved significantly.
Football equipment has improved significantly.

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The game of football has been under a lot of scrutiny lately. Recent issues have included extreme heat, neck injuries, and the latest debate; concussions. More and more studies are being done in an effort to reduce concussions and other injuries.

Paul Boudreaux is in the business of athlete safety, and his idea for concussion protection is pretty simple.

"Proper equipment you know, and making sure, like I said, that he's properly fitted in equipment," said Boudreaux.

He's been selling sports equipment for over a decade, and says the technology has made huge leaps recently, as well as the price. Some of today's helmets can cost more than $300. Boudreaux said that no matter how much you pay, there's no such thing as concussion proof equipment.

It's not just advances in equipment that have made the game safer. Pearl River Community College Head Coach William Jones said detection and diagnosis have also changed the way the game is played.

"There's steps and there's a protocol now with concussions in terms of a time frame. Then they go through some testing before they're allowed to go back to practice," said Jones.

This rule applies to games, as well.

Don Hinton, of the Mississippi High School Activities Association, said the testing is very particular and can't be administered by just anyone.

"You have to have a licensed physician to actually give permission to go back in the game. It's not about the coach saying ok, it's not about the referee saying ok he can come back in," said Hinton.

Coaches and administrators alike agree that people shouldn't be scared to let their children play.

"I think parents should be encouraged on what we're trying to do," said Pascagoula Athletic Director Greg Freeman.

"Doesn't matter if you win or lose a game when it comes down to the safety of your players," said Columbia High School Defensive Coordinator Phelix Shoemaker.

After all, without the players, there would be no game.

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