Safety Center

Bears Junior All American Football reconditions and certifies all of its helmets and shoulder pads every year. While Pop Warner only requires helmets every other year and does not require recertification of shoulder pads at all, and other programs do not require it at all.

Our Bears Family yearly reconditioning program is bylaw.

Proper equipment fitting is also suspect. Youth coaches are not trained to fit helmets properly and do so without the proper knowledge to keep players safe. To prevent risk of concussions due to improper fitting, all of our equipment managers are factory trained to fit equipment and do so to industry responsible standards.
Our athletes and our Bears Family matters more than winning or monetary savings. We will not risk the health of your child. 

Helmet reconditioning:  How to do it right
By Steve Alic
Attaining maximum performance in anything requires reaching full potential.
This applies to football – for the athlete, the coach … and the athlete’s equipment.
Putting football fundamentals into practice and wearing season-ready equipment bolster player safety.
Helmet reconditioning is especially important to protect players and to attain a helmet’s maximum life span.
USA Football recommends that helmets be reconditioned and recertified annually by a reconditioner licensed by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). In addition, ensure that your helmet reconditioner is a member in good standing with the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (NAERA).
“A NOCSAE-licensed equipment recertifier and reconditioner acts as your consultant when it comes to the performance of your football protective equipment,” Riddell Vice President of Research and Development Thad Ide said. “Wear and tear on your helmets, shoulder pads and other equipment is part of the game, which is why Riddell recommends annual reconditioning.
“Your reconditioner has the experience and expertise to evaluate the state of your equipment and help your program issue the best possible gear to your players.”
Helmet reconditioning should not only include cleaning, sanitizing, inspection and replacement of broken or overworn parts but recertification to NOCSAE’s helmet performance standard as well. Rejected or retired helmets should be destroyed or made unusable.
“Riddell has been reconditioning football equipment at our state-of-the-art facilities for over 40 years,” Ide said. “Careful inspection, cleaning, sanitizing and repair are all part of a good reconditioning program.  Helmets are subjected to rigorous testing to make sure that they meet strict performance and protective requirements before they leave our facility.”
Follow the helmet manufacturers’ guidelines for helmet care and storage. Most manufacturers recommend storing equipment in a temperature-controlled environment to avoid adverse effects of extreme heat or cold.
Bears Junior All American Football reconditions all shoulder pads and helmets yearly as part of our bylaws. The reconditioning is performed by Riddell, the industry standard for reconditioning. Reconditioning our equipment or purchasing new equipment for your player is more than 50% of the Bears Junior All American Football annual budget. The Bears Family will not compromise your player’s safety. 
New 10-year limit set for helmet reconditioning
By USA Football staff 
Effective Sept. 1, National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (NAERA) members will not recondition or recertify any football helmet 10 years of age or older.
NAERA announced today the new 10-year policy adopted at its recent winter meeting. The 10 years shall be determined by the manufacturers date as required by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).
For example, at the end of this upcoming 2011 football season, any helmet dated 2002 or older will not be reconditioned or recertified by a NAERA member.
NAERA is an association of 21 athletic equipment reconditioners and four helmet manufacturers whose mission is to increase awareness and acceptance of high-quality athletic equipment reconditioning  and recertification. Emphasis is directed toward reducing the risk of injury.
NAERA members are licensed by NOCSAE to recertify football, lacrosse, softball and baseball helmets as well as face guards. NAERA members reconditioned or recertified more than 1.7 million helmets last year.
All Bears Junior All American Football helmets are no more than 2 years old and are reconditioned and certified yearly.
Equipment Inventory and Reconditioning Important for Player Protection
By Michael Kuebler 
As the start of the 2011 football season draws near, youth players across the country look forward to that day when equipment is passed out and they walk away with their helmets, pads and uniform ready for the first days of practice.
Football equipment is an important topic for youth leagues and teams that relates to their management as well as the protection of the players. George Maczuga, Football Equipment Expert for USA Football’s Football and Wellness Committee and Director of Sales and Marketing Support at Riddell, shares equipment inventory and reconditioning tips for leagues to follow at different stages year-round:
•When issuing equipment and fitting players before the season, document each piece of equipment given to each player. Record the style, manufacturer and size of helmets and pads. This provides control at the end of the season when equipment is returned.
•Equipment should be cleaned and sanitized following the season for the protection of the players in the future. Proper cleaning products should be compatible with the plastic and material of the equipment so as not to have negative effects.
•An annual reconditioning program should be in place to send equipment to a licensed National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) reconditioner for the inspection and reconditioning process.
•Order replacements for equipment that has been found to be defective during the reconditioning process. Inventory should be kept at 10-15% above the number of players in the league in order to ensure there is an adequate amount and sizes for all players.
•Equipment needs to be stored properly so as to avoid damage and wear during the off-season. When equipment returns after reconditioning, leave it sealed in the boxes. Otherwise, helmets can be stored on racks and walls. Shoulder pads also need to be stored on racks. Do not stack them on the ground with no support or else the pads at the bottom can become damaged.
When it comes to football equipment, helmets are thought of first and foremost, and rightfully so. They protect a critical part of a player’s body and have witnessed great innovation over the years. While helmets are key for protection, they form only one piece of the equipment puzzle though. Pads such as shoulder pads should be included in all of the above inventory and reconditioning steps.
“The most overlooked product to be reconditioned are shoulder pads,” Maczuga said. “It’s probably because of priority … but those should be cleaned annually as well.”
Budget constraints can dramatically affect a league’s ability to recondition its equipment every year, but there are some steps they can take to make it possible. Programs need to prioritize how much they are going to spend on various items. Spending money on helmet decals and stripes or fancy uniforms will look good but might not be the best allocation of league resources if equipment is in need of reconditioning.
“Finances are always really important,” Maczuga recognizes. “I think a lot of times cosmetics will override protection for the athlete. Maybe if you cut back on the cosmetics and the bells and whistles, you’ll have some money set aside to put into your reconditioning budget.”
The cosmetics are usually popular with the kids and are fine, but the protective aspects of equipment must come first. If annual reconditioning is still not feasible, it should be done every other year at the very least.
“The player deserves it,” Maczuga said. “He or she deserves to have a fresh piece of equipment when they start. That doesn’t mean it needs to be a new piece of equipment, but they should be able to walk out thinking ‘Doesn’t this look good, and this is nice.’ It makes the parents happy and gives the player a feeling of pride.”


Bears Junior All American Football prides itself on our dollar for dollar accountability. As a result, Bears Junior All American Football & Cheer is a government sanctioned section 501 (c) (3) non-profit as an organization that is organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. The Bears Family budgets annually for our complete yearly reconditioning of all our equipment for the safety of our Bears Family players.



According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program, in 2001, the number of sport-related injuries for each sport are as follows:

Gymnastics — 99,722

Basketball — 680,307

Baseball — 170,902

Softball — 118,354

Football — 43,620

Soccer — 163,003

Volleyball — 55,860

Track & Field — 15,113

Hockey — 63,945
According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research Twentieth Annual Report, from 1982-2002, the total numbers of direct and indirect fatalities among high school athletes were:

Baseball — 17

Basketball — 88

Cheerleading — 21

Cross Country — 14

Football — 22

Soccer — 31

Track & Field — 47

Wrestling — 16
Source: National Electronic Injury Surveillance System
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
National Injury Information Clearinghouse

Estimates for Sports Injuries 1998
(1998 Statistics should be released from the CPSC in July of 2000)

Estimates for Sports Injuries 1998

(1998 Statistics should be released from the CPSC in July of 2000)

Sport & Product Code Estimated # of Cases Age Percents Age 0-4 Age Percents Age 5-14 Age Percents Age 15-24
Archery (1235) 3,110 2.8 22.7 27.5
Ball Sports (3236 41,534 5.7 54.3 20.1
Baseball (5041) 180,582 4.5 50.4 23.3
Basketball (1205) 631,186 0.6 31.5 46.4
Bicycles (5040) 577,621 7.1 55.0 15.2
Bleachers (1294) 19,161 14.5 50.3 12.4
Bowling (1206) 23,130 5.0 17.8 16.7
Boxing (1207) 9,183 0.0 8.6 54.4
Cheerleading (3254) 18,858 0.0 44.8 54.8
Dancing (3278) 38,427 3.5 19.2 36.3
Diving or Diving Boards (1278) 11,124 2.3 40.8 31.2
Exercise w/o Equipment (3299) 123,177 0.4 13.9 26.3
Exercise Equipment (3277) 33,320 17.4 25.8 9.7
Field Hockey (1295) 4,666 1.7 43.3 49.3
Football (1211) 35,247 0.3 45.0 43.1
Golf (1212) 46,019 6.4 23.0 7.5
Gymnastics (1272) 31,446 3.8 77.3 16.0
Hockey (not specified)(3272) 42,285 2.4 36.2 34.5
Horseback Riding (1239) 64,692 1.5 20.2 15.3
Ice Hockey (1279) 22,231 0.6 35.3 37.4
Ice Skating (3255) 33,741 2.4 46.4 18.8
In-Line Skating (3297) 110,783 0.7 61.1 18.7
Martial Arts (3257) 23,018 1.1 23.5 30.6
Roller Skating (3216) 53,681 2.2 60.5 12.5
Rugby (3234) 8361 0.0 0.1 65.9
Skateboards (1333) 54,532 2.7 50.7 39.5
Skating (not specified)(3217) 27,481) 2.4 61.5 16.2
Snow Skiing (3283) 81,787 0.5 14.2 15.9
Soccer (1267) 169,734 0.5 45.7 37.6
Softball (5034) 132,625 0.3 19.2 30.1
Squash, Racquet Ball or Paddle (3256) 8,984 0.0 8.9 26.3
Swimming (3274) 49,331 5.2 40.1 20.7
Tennis (3284) 22,665 1.0 18.8 19.2
Track & Field (5030) 15,560 0.0 40.9 54.6
Trampolines (1233) 95,239 9.6 69.6 14.0
Volleyball (1266) 66,191 0.1 25.2 42.6
Water Skiing (1264) 14,487 0.0 4.7 32.9
Weight Lifting (3265) 60,039 5.9 12.1 34.7
Wrestling (1279) 43,917 1.3 36.4 51.7


The above information has been compiled from the Product Summary Report, Injury Estimates for Calendar Year 1998, National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. The Product Summary report is a compilation of information derived from product-associated injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms participating in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). The NEISS estimates are calculated from a sample of hospitals which are statistically representative of institutions with emergency treatment departments located within the United States and its territories. There are approximately 100 hospitals participating in the surveillance system.

For more information contact: The National Injury Information Clearinghouse, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207, 301-504-0424



A Mayo Clinic study of youth football showed that most injuries that occurred were mild, older players appeared to be at a higher risk and that no significant correlation exists between body weight and injury.

The study, which appears in the April issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, found that the data for athletes grades four through eight indicated that the risk of injury in youth football does not appear greater than the risk associated with other recreational or competitive sports.

“Our analysis showed that youth football injuries are uncommon,” said Michael J. Stuart, M.D., a Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon and the principal author of the study.

Dr. Stuart and his colleagues studied 915 players aged 9 to 13 years, who participated on 42 football teams in the fall of 1997. Injury incidence, prevalence and severity were calculated for each grade level and player position. Additional analysis examined the number of injuries according to body weight.

A game injury was defined as any football-related ailment that occurred on the field during a game that kept a player out of competition for the reminder of the game, required the attention of a physician, and included all concussion, lacerations, as well as dental, eye and nerve injuries. The researchers found a total of 55 injuries occurred in games during the season — a prevalence of six percent. Incidence of injury expressed as injury per 1,000 player-plays was lowest in the fourth grade (.09 percent), increased for the fifth, sixth and seventh grades (.16 percent, .16 percent, .15 percent respectively) and was highest in the eighth grade (.33 percent).

Most of the injuries were mild and the most common type was a contusion, which occurred in 33 players. Four injuries (fractures involving the ankle growth plate) were such that they prevented players from participating for the rest of the season. No player required hospitalization or surgery.

The study’s authors said risk increases with level of play (grade in school) and player age. Older players in the higher grades are more susceptible to football injuries. The risk of injury for an eighth-grade player was four times greater than the risk of injury for a fourth-grade player. Potential contributing factors include increased size, strength, speed and aggressiveness. Analysis of body weight indicated that lighter players were not at increased risk for injury, and in fact heavier players had a slightly higher prevalence of injury. This trend was not statistically significant. Running backs are at greater risk when compared with other football positions, the researchers reported.

Other authors who contributed to the study include: Michael A. Morrey, Ph.D., Aynsley M. Smith, RN, Ph.D., John K. Meis, M.S., all from the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center and Cedric J. Ortiguera, M.D., a Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon in Jacksonville, Fla.

Mayo Clinic Proceedings is a peer-reviewed and indexed general internal medicine journal, published for 75 years by Mayo Foundation, with a circulation of 130,000 nationally and internationally.


First National Review of Youth Soccer Injuries Finds 1.6 Million Emergency Room Visits Over 14 Years in the United States

Warming up properly opens the door to better practices
By Rick Peacock  
Rick Peacock is the USA Football Southeast Regional Manager, covering North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. He also coaches in the Anne Arundel County (Md.) Youth Football League.
The days of youth football coaches telling kids to take two laps then running them through a series of gym-class-style warm-ups are over.
The game has changed on and off the field during the last 20 years. Sports research has shown there are better ways to get your football players ready for practices and games.
The first goal at the start of each practice or pre-game should be to warm the players up in a safe and productive manner, preparing them for the football-related activities they will go through that day. The second goal is to help players gain range and motion through the combination of proper warm-ups and stretching. This is crucial to the players’ success and safety.
Some traditional exercises remain good for building strength. Many youth players cannot handle their own body weight, and most professionals advise waiting until high school to lift weights so a player’s body is mature enough and he or she can be monitored by professionals. Through warm-up exercises, coaches are able to help with that, though.
Push-ups are great for building body strength, and sit-ups help strengthen the body’s core. A stronger core allows players to play at a good pad level and increase power in every aspect of their game.
The following examples show how to warm up before a practice or a game. Use both to maximize productivity, and speak to your local high school trainer or sports trainer for more examples.
Dynamic warm-up:
The purpose is to get blood flowing through the muscles and to prepare for a static stretch. Muscles need to be warmed up in order to safely stretch and increase the range of motion. By doing a series of form running exercises it loosens up the joints and muscles so this can be possible.
•Toe tap (bending over to touch the toe then coming right back up)
•High knee (run in place as the player brings his or her knee as high as possible)
•Butt kick (run in place as the player brings his or her foot up to their backside)
•Soldier walk (walk while kicking legs up high to touch opposite hands, keeping the knees locked)
•Explosions (drive your knee up, alternating feet, like going up for a layup in basketball)
•Forward lunge (take a big step forward, bringing your back knee to the ground)
•Side lunge (lean to the side, swinging hips out and keeping opposite leg straight)
•Open the gate (backpedal slowly while lifting the leg and rotating at the hips)
•Knee pulls (bring knee up and hold it)
•Carioca (one foot over the other as player run sideways)
Static stretch
After you have blood flowing into the muscles through the dynamic stretch it is time to increase the range of motion and flexibility. The heart rate should be up at this point, and you should be warmed up. If you feel stiff, take it slow. The goal is not to injure yourself but to prevent any further injuries.
•Toe touches (right over left)
•Picking berries (spread feet apart and reach back between legs )
•Butterflies (from a sitting position, feet together toward the groin area, try to keep knees on the ground)
•Hurdle stretch (forward and back; make sure to keep knee on ground)
•Sitting side twist (from a sitting position, twist torso and reach around to behind your back)
•Leg climb (lay flat and stick leg up; grab and try to hold each leg for 10 seconds)
•Arches (lay flat on stomach, push up with body weight resting on arms, stretching back; keep hips and lower body on ground and hold for 10 seconds)
•Leg extensions (lie on back and cross leg over body to opposite side, then roll hips)
•Neck flex (have partner hold head and lean into him or her, applying pressure to neck)
It should take about 10 to 15 minutes to go through these two sets. I would then suggest some ladder drills or team agilities. You will want to increase the activity slowly and safely. All your players should be ready to engage in some type of contact drills at this point.
Remember that each player is different and has different capabilities. Not all players get as loose or are as strong as his teammates. As a coach, it is your job — especially at the youth levels — to know your players and put them in a position so they can be successful. If you can do this, you will see dramatic improvement from you team.
Nutrition workshop offers 10 good habits for young athletes
By Rett Larson
Rett Larson is the director of coaching at Velocity Sports Performance and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Larson also serves as USA Football’s expert in sports performance training.
Brandon McGill of the Redondo Beach (Calif.) Velocity Sports Performance facility recently led an hour-long presentation focusing on how eating habits can help athletes get the most out of their workouts and competitions.
He stressed that his proposal isn’t a diet, because that word implies that it isn’t long term. McGill preached the eating lifestyle of great athletes and how forming good habits early can help fuel the superstars of tomorrow.
Habit No. 1: Eat every three hours
If all you eat is breakfast, lunch and dinner, you are setting yourself up for energy spikes and lulls throughout the day as your body first reacts to sugar influx, then waits for the next huge dose. By simply adding a more substantial pre- and post-workout meal, you’re on your way to eating more often.
Habit No. 2: Eat complete meals
All you need are the three basics — carbohydrates, protein and fat — but you need them at every meal because they work together to give athletes energy. Plus, you’ll be fuller and more satiated eating that way.
Habit No. 3: Have a good breakfast
Breakfast can raise your metabolism for the whole day — so steer clear of the sugar that you will find in most breakfast drinks, such as orange juice and grande Mocha Frappuccinos.
Habit No. 4: Eat veggies with every meal
There’s no need to take a multi-vitamin if you can adopt this one. Vegetables should be your primary source of carbohydrates since they release sugar and energy slowly. McGill said that it’s almost impossible to overeat vegetables, so saddle-up to that side of the buffet and have at it.
Habit No. 5: Don’t drink calories
When McGill consults with pro athletes who primarily need to lose weight, the first thing he tells them to do is stop drinking soda, juice, energy drinks and creamy coffees. Free refills may seem like a good idea for those trying to pinch pennies, but it’s too easy to pack on liquid calories if you don’t monitor your intake.
Habit No. 6: Eat protein at every meal
Protein is the key to repairing muscle, but make sure you pick the right ones. As a general rule, the fewer legs the animal has — fish as opposed to chicken as opposed to pork or beef — the better. Eat at least one serving with every meal.
Habit: No. 7: Eat fats that give back
Athletes need about 20 percent to 70 percent of their calories to come from healthy fats, because they actually can decrease your body fat and boost your immunity. Good fats come from olive oil, avocado and flax seed to name a few.
Habit No. 8: Have a plan
Most eating strategies are derailed because athletes don’t plan their meals ahead of time. If you make your own food you’ll know exactly what goes into it and how much you can have. Having healthy snacks such as nuts, jerky or fruit on-hand can go a long way to keeping your body lean.
Habit No. 9: Select your carbs with care
Carbohydrates are a common pitfall for athletes. If you want to have more muscle, carbs are OK, but if you want to lose fat, limit them. Most people don’t realize that it’s the bread on your hamburger or sandwich that is hurting your energy levels more than what is inside.
Habit No. 10: Stick to 90 percent
When changing your eating strategy, don’t try to change everything at once, because you’ll get overwhelmed and fail. Stick to your healthy habits 90 percent of the time and give yourself the occasional treat that will keep you consistent for the long term.