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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In football, each hit is a chance for an injury, and one mistake can put a player at risk for concussion.

Even if that player is only a kid.

“Football is a violent game,” said St. Peter’s Football and Cheerleading Organization Coach Brian Medalion. “It’s gladiators 2010.”

The youth football league is a long way from the multi-million dollar contracts of the NFL, but the kids are just as prone to injury.

“I want these guys going to school, going to college,” said Coach Michael Owens, “but I don’t want them getting paralyzed, making a mistake where I could’ve corrected them.”

And although no one here can run a 40 in 4.4 yet, coaches said kids are stronger now than they’ve ever been, and that increases the risk of injury.

“They’re bigger, they’re stronger, and a lot of times faster too,” emphasized Medalion.

A helmet-to-helmet collision has enough force to push the brain into the front of the skull. The impact can then ricochet it against the back of the skull.

The coaches at St. Peter’s Football drill proper technique. They make it instinct, because they know the risk of improper technique.

This past weekend, an improper hit paralyzed Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand from the neck down, the latest example of the forces in football.

Coaches said the game is not going to get slower or softer, and it is up to parents and coaches to make sure kids know the right way to play, so they can avoid the injuries that happen at every level of the game.

Coaches encourage parents to get as involved as possible and make sure to speak with the coaches and organizers to make sure practice is safe for kids.

Reported By: Oren Liebermann, CBS 3

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