The death of NFL star Junior Seau from an apparent suicide is raising questions about the long-term effects of playing football.
His death the latest in a string of NFL suicides that experts fear could be linked to brain injuries they suffered during their careers.
And parents are becoming worried about letting their kids play football.
There's fear on the field, but a bigger concern off the gridiron, that players in-pain, get help before doing anything drastic.
"I'm always worried," said Andria Rogers. "I pray every play."
She's had two hard-hitting sons on the field last year at Plant High School and said, that experience was beyond stressful.
"Extremely nerve-racking, because I had two linebackers and every play, they were hitting," she said. "So I had to pray doubly hard last year."
Even in grueling, 90-degree heat, with three-hour practices in the sun, Plant High junior Mitchell Wright said the game is all about physical endurance.
"I've had a couple good hits on people," he said with a smile.
And he's gotten as good as he's given, including one concussion already.
"Kinda see a couple stars and feel a little dizzy," he said, recalling the jarring experience.
He was out of commission a week, but still has college and pro-ball aspirations.
"My dad and my mom always say they get worried every time I get on the field," he said.
"If you're child is injured, they need to actually be evaluated," said FOX13 Medical Reporter Dr. Joette Giovinco. "And if that physician or that person decides that your child should not play, then they should not play."
There is growing research to support the possible correlation between concussions, depression, and potentially, suicide.
Wright's football coach, Robert Weiner, said part of what's changing in football, is the old hero mentality.
"This is not time for you to be a hero," said Weiner. "We want you to work hard and be a hero for your teammates, but if you're not feeling right, we gotta get you attended to right away. That's kind of a new form of courage actually, it's kind of not fitting the old model of the old tough guys."
Tough guys like Junior Seau endured 20 years of hard hits.
"You just remember the seconds before, and then you look up and realize that you know, you're not in Kansas anymore," smiled former Buccaneer and Dallas Cowboy Jorge Diaz, who's been there, when it comes to getting a concussion.
He said there's a cycle among former players that needs to be broken.
"We're prideful men, we're built to last, we have this warrior mentality, where we're gonna go out there and perform and we don't want your help, we're not injured," he said. "We can do the job and I think, unfortunately guys, when they leave, do still have that mentality."
Diaz added, players and anyone for that matter who needs help, should put aside their pride and ask for help because it is out there.