football Nutrition & Health Sport Specific

Keeping Football Players Safe on the Field

(Flickr - John Martinez Pavliga)

(Flickr – John Martinez Pavliga)

The following is a post by Chris Burget, a head scout at NCSA Athletic Recruiting, who regularly contributes to our blog, as well as his own at CoachChris99.com. Chris played football at the University of Arizona, where he received a full scholarship. You can also find Chris on Twitter @Coach_Chris99. You can talk to Chris and other football scouts about your football recruiting process and how you can maximize your chances of getting a football scholarship.

All the recent headline news of concussions from playing football and the injuries we are seeing at all levels of football make me think about what life is like after football. This past weekend, like many of you, I went from Thursday college football, to Friday high school football, to Saturday college football and then to Sunday and Monday NFL games. In this primetime lineup, all over the country we get to see the best athletes at each level play the game.

But keeping football players safe as we enjoy the game is of paramount importance

As we tune in to root for our teams we have to remember that the sport these athletes play is a game of collision. With athletes bigger, faster and stronger we see a number of athletes go down with severe injuries.

It’s nice to know that there are schools and companies that do the right thing. For example, the PAC-12 has made changes in its rules to ensure that

  • Athletic scholarships will be guaranteed for four years for student-athletes in all sports, and transfer students can receive scholarships immediately
  • Student-athletes who leave school before graduating can use the remainder of their educational expenses later to earn their degree
  • Medical expenses for injured student-athletes will continue to be covered for four years after the athlete leaves the school

I know first-hand the importance of keeping football players safe

My true freshman year at the University of Arizona, I started special teams and played defensive tackle for the Arizona Wildcats. Seventh game of the year against the Oregon Ducks, kickoff return I went down with a tibia plateau fracture. I played two more years injuring it again in 1985 Sun Bowl, against the Georgia Bulldogs. My career was cut short, but the University of Arizona honored my full scholarship and I took a medical release.

The unfortunate truth is that in one play your life can change, and athletes who participate in contact sports are prone to violent collisions and serious injuries.

Today, like PAC-12 schools help their students or the University of Arizona looked out for me, NCSA Athletic Recruiting does the right thing in helping take care of student athletes. NCSA has an athlete protect guarantee through which — God forbid you get hurt — if an athlete gets hurt and cannot play his of her sport in college, their money is refunded.

When we’re watching games in our hometowns, college stadiums, or in stadiums broadcast to our living rooms, we must remember that there are real bodies getting tossed around down there. We need to ensure that student-athletes are protected, whether it’s in high school, college or the NFL. Our modern day gladiators deserve to know that in the unfortunate event of a catastrophic injury the athlete is insured until the injury is healed. I’m often asked: If I had it all to do over again, was it worth it?

Yes. Seventeen surgeries later, I still say yes. Sports was the building block that opened up doors and created life long relationships. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


Coach Chris and other football scouts are here to help you talk about how you can stay safe while you play the game you love at the highest possible level. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.