TODAY   |  August 31, 2013

A safety check on youth football

The NFL settled a lawsuit with thousands of its former players about concussions and the lifelong injuries some of those players say they've suffered. What impact will the $765-million settlement have on youth football? NBC's Ron Mott reports.

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>>> i want to begin with the impact from a $765 million settlement reached this week between the nfl and thousands of former players. the players brought the suit forward claiming they hid the dangers of head trauma after they suffered concussions with lifelong injuries.

>> what impact could it have on youth football ? ron mott has been looking into this. good morning.

>> football has long since replaced baseball as america's game. it's more popular than ever. all we have learned, the game continues to grow at the youth level. efforts to keep football stars of tomorrow from seeing stars when they take a hit to the head have grown more significant as they learn about the dangers of concussions. redesigned helmets, refocused training and programs like heads up football have been driven by calls to make it safer. despite football 's unavoidable violent collision, parents are cheering their kids on, showing few signs of curving the sports growing numbers.

>> when you play a sport, there's a risk of getting hurt whether it's a concussion or other injury.

>> all the pads we wear, it's safe.

>> keep your head up. not to tackle the way you were taught before.

>> if you are coached and taught properly, it's a safe game.

>> reporter: unlike a generation ago, the risks are discussed at every level of football up colluding the head injuries on young players.

>> the brain takes a hit and heals. takes another hit and heals. after awhile, the brain's ability to heal goes down a bit. that can lead to long term problems in how a child thinks and learns.

>>> the largest football organization with an estimated quarter million players change how coaches run practices and abide by a weight scale. despite all the safety measures, some head injuries occur. a football study this spring showed less than 4% of players surveyed get concussions.

>> we want them to be lifelong healthy people.

>> 3 million kids between 6 and 14 play football every year around the country. a vast majority of them suffer minor injuries if they are hurt.

>> nice to see you this morning.

>> dylan is back with a