The program is called Heads Up Football, and it currently involves 32 high schools in eight states. In 2014, any high school in the country will be able to participate.
High school programs that participate each assign a Player Safety Coach, who is trained by USA Football to instruct coaches, parents and players on specific tackling mechanics. The techniques are aimed at reducing helmet contact, concussion recognition and response protocols, and ensure adequate fitting for helmets and shoulder pads.
Heads Up Football will incorporate about 4,000 high school student athletes this year, as well as youth football programs that represent nearly 600,000 youth players in all 50 states and Washington.
A lot of schools in the Los Angeles area are requiring pre-season cognitive testing for football players, so that if a player gets a concussion, he can be re-tested and the results can be compared to the original screening, said Sidney Jones, athlete trainer and clinical coordinator at the Sports Concussion Institute.
Jones conducts education, pre-injury and post-injury testing throughout the Los Angeles area.
"I think as different things are happening -- whether it's NFL lawsuits, or more media attention on things like concussions -- I think a lot more parents and schools are willing to try to protect their kids a little bit more, and get more education," she said.
Jones has found that many student athletes -- she mainly works with children 18 and under -- do not know the risks of concussions. She educates them about prevention and symptoms.
She keeps it basic and does not talk about the long-term risks of concussions that have been getting a lot of attention in research. That's because, in her view, "We don't have the research available to us yet to actually concretely say anything."
Some parents are taking matters into their own hands. Jason's mother, Erika Stevens, wasn't satisfied with the normal training on her son's team, so she hired a personal trainer to help him avoid concussions in the future. He's learned how to properly hit, and when to let the play go, over the past couple of months, she said.
"We hope that it makes him a smarter player."
Jason said his team passed out new football helmets this season that are designed to minimize the risk of concussion more than old ones this season. He got one because of his injury last year.
Jason suffered attention problems in school for months after his concussion, and sat closer to the front of the class than normal because of eyesight difficulties, his mother said.
Training for this season -- his first since the injury -- began August 19.
His mother is nervous about him suffering another concussion, but Jason is not. Still, they've agreed: "If he does get another concussion, then football's done," Stevens said.