As the Triple J Guam National Youth Football Federation prepares to kick off its 10th season, a declining number of participants has prompted the league to reach out to the public.
The league, scheduled to open Aug. 10, needs more players.
“There are some organizations that are still seeking players,” said Joey Guerrero, GNYFF public information officer.
In years past, the league housed eight organizations containing 40 teams. But this year, that number has grown to nine organizations.
The Barrigada Crusaders, the newest faction, will join the Hal’s Angels, Guahan Eagles, Southern Cowboys, Guam Raiders, Faha Outlaws, Tamuning Steelers, Broncos and Guam Packers.
Each organization, consisting of three tackle divisions, one flag squad and cheerleading, is accepting new and veteran players.
“With the expansion of another team, growing to nine teams, (the league) is not as populated as it was before,” Guerrero said.
Interested parents of 4- to -15-year-olds seeking to register their children are urged to visit www.gnyff671.com.
The fear of concussions, another reason for declining numbers, is a concern that the GNYFF is taking seriously.
Repeated concussions, if untreated and diagnosed, can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative brain disease. The disease, also known as CTE, has led to the death of more than 100 former NFL players.
Brought to light in the 2015 Hollywood movie “Concussion,” the disease is portrayed as life-threatening.
Will Smith, who portrayed Dr. Bennet Omalu in the blockbuster, discovered the disease while performing an autopsy on Mike Webster. Webster, a former NFL player, whose career spanned 17 seasons, died at 50 years old.
A recent study, out of Boston University, linked CTE to 110 of 111 brains studied.
“We are making it mandatory for all coaches and volunteers to be concussion certified,” Guerrero said. “If they are not certified, there is a restriction for them being on the field and participating.”
Registration for all players and cheerleaders will take place at the Barrigada mayor’s office July 27.