NFL Comments On Weddington Youth Football Hit
CHARLOTTE, NC – Professional athletes, sports talk show personalities and even the NFL are weighing in on a dangerous hit during a Weddington youth football practice. The drill was apparently set up by the father of one player who is also the coach.
The youth league player was leveled during the drill with a head-to-head hit that took him off his feet.
“It was disappointing for me for sure,” said former NFL player and Panthers great Thomas Davis.
He says the video is of the Weddington Titans youth football team.
“I went to a lot of those practices and I watched a lot of what they do and what they’re teaching. They’re definitely teaching heads up football and they’re teaching kids to go out there and play the game the right way,” said Davis.
Davis says the player taking the hit is the coach’s son. He says the dad wanted to see what his son could do against the best player on the team. According to the league attorney, after an investigation, the coach was removed from his position.
“The coach knows what he did was wrong and I feel like he’s learned from it. I don’t think he’s ever going to make that mistake again,” explained Davis.
The video has gone viral, with sports radio personalities, former players, and now even the NFL weighing in saying in a statement,
“The video is abhorrent and undermines the thousands of football players across the country teaching proper fundamentals and playing technique.”
“Immediate sort of shock and sort of catch your breath moments honestly,” said Novant Health Dr. Christian Turner.
Turner specializes in pediatric sports medicine. He says hits like this, especially in young children, can cause swelling or bleeding inside the skull, as well as concussions.
“There is a lot of movement that happens inside the skull and we think the brain moves around a little bit. It doesn’t have much space to go so any kind of movement in there is dangerous,” explained Dr. Turner.
He says the long term impact of hard hitting head collisions is still unknown, and that it’s best for youth to try and avoid them.
“If you said we delayed the time until we started the stuff that was riskier, then at least you have less exposure to potential repetitive head injuries,” said Dr. Turner.
The attorney for the Wesley Chapel Weddington Athletic Association provided the following statement to WCCB:
“WCWAA’s youth football program, along with all of their other programs, primarily focuses on the safety of youth athletes, as well as the instructional and developmental aspects of the game, including appropriate drills for appropriate age groups. All of the coaches are volunteers and are required to be certified through USA Football. When this matter first came to the association’s attention back in September of 2020, the Board immediately took action to address the situation as the safety of the youth athletes are of paramount importance. After a thorough investigation, the head coach was removed from his position.
This drill occurred back in Sept 2020 on a team with a first year coach in the program. This was addressed immediately with the coach when it happened as this was deemed not an acceptable drill for this age group or the experience level of these players. Subsequent to the coach being removed from his position, there were no other incidents or issues with this team during the remainder of the season. As all of the coaches are USA football certified volunteers, WCWAA continuously encourages and requires their coaches to enhance their education and training through USA Football as well as through mentoring programs within and outside the organization. The younger coaches in the program are provided with feedback and support during the season from more experienced coaches. Again, the safety of the players is the primary focus and we believe that the immediate and swift actions of removing the coach from his position demonstrates WCWAA’s commitment to that safety.”