Children's Hospital Colorado

We care for patients’ growing muscles, joints and bones through sports medicine, surgery, rehabilitation and research.

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A football player stretches the ball across the goal line while another player tackles him.

At the Sports Medicine Center at Children’s Hospital Colorado, we work specifically with young athletes. Our sole focus is to help kids and teens play and excel at the sports they love, including contact sports like football.   

Why are we experts at caring for young athletes who play football? 

Our multidisciplinary team brings a wealth of diverse expertise in pediatric sports medicine, with specialists from pediatrics, orthopedic surgery, nutrition, sports psychology, rehabilitation, physical therapy, athletic training, and more. Plus, our care team understands the strenuous nature of football, and some providers have even participated in the sport.

What are common football injuries in kids and young adults? 

  • Knee sprains, including anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears and medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprains
  • Meniscus tears
  • Concussion
  • Finger, ankle and wrist fractures
  • Muscle strains
  • Shoulder acromioclavicular (AC) joint sprains 

Tips for parents of football players 

Be sure that your young athlete: 

  • Has a well-fitting helmet that is properly sized.
  • Stays hydrated, especially in hot weather.
  • Maintains proper nutrition and appropriate periods of rest throughout the year.
  • Continues to focus on homework and school, not just sports. 

Parents must also be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion and know how to treat a concussion.

Tips for football coaches 

  • Allow time for hydration and periods of rest and cooling off in hot weather, especially during two-a-day practices.
  • Teach your team proper tackling techniques. 
  • Encourage “heads up” playing, meaning that players do not lead with the head and no “spearing” (hitting an opposing player with the crown of the helmet).
  • Know how to identify concussion signs and symptoms.
  • Understand concussion guidelines and Senate Bill 40 – the Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act, which requires that coaches of all youth organized sports for kids age 11-18 complete annual concussion recognition education. If the coach suspects a youth athlete has sustained a concussion, the coach must immediately remove the athlete from play, and the athlete cannot return to practice or play until evaluated by a licensed health care provider and cleared to return. A good mantra is “when in doubt, sit them out.” 

Learn more about our Sports Medicine Center.

Need Advice for Your Young Athlete?

Check out our sports articles, written by our Sports Medicine experts. You'll find advice and tips for parents, coaches, trainers and young athletes.