TAMPA — Youth football has come under a lot of criticism lately with worries about concussions and other injuries becoming more prevalent.
But the Carrollwood Cardinals youth football organization is taking every precaution necessary before the start of its youth football season in late August. Cardinals Athletic Director Jerry Whatts said that the Cardinals are taking plenty of precautions to prevent injuries, and that registration continues to improve.
It isn’t an easy task for Whatts, who draws no pay for his 60-hour-a-week job.
He oversees the cheerleading, the football organizations as well as the business end of things like concessions, advertising and just about everything else that goes into putting together a massive sports organization.
At a recent football rally to help raise funds for the program at Skyway Park, Whatts said that he’s perfectly fine with the volunteer work.
“I kind of oversee everything,” Whatts said. “It’s a full-time job, but the kids look up to you and they need support. You know what it does? It keeps kids off of the streets, off of drugs. It’s worth the work.”
Whatts said that it isn’t only the football program that he works with. He works with the Carrollwood soccer program, baseball, and just about everything else. Whatever matters for the kids.
“The kids have to have things outside of football, and we make sure they have it,” Whatts said. “There’s plenty of things to do for kids.”
Whatts never played organized football while growing up in New York City, but he developed an interest in working with kids.
He moved to Florida and took an active role in the Carrollwood youth sports community.
He’s concerned about safety and is taking every precaution to make sure that the kids who play football for the Cardinals are as safe as possible. Football, he knows with all of the recent revelations about concussions, can be a dangerous game, but he said the Carrollwood Cardinals program is trying to keep a step ahead.
“We use all of the technology that is out there to make sure our helmets are the safest, the equipment is the safest, and we know it is a serious thing,” Whatts said. “We train our coaches on safety and know we are doing our best for them.”
For further information on the Cardinals football program, go to www .carrollwoodcardinals.net.