"I'm passionate about this:" Clay Matthews' mom, Leslie works to make the game as safe as possible

GREEN BAY (WITI) -- Not too many people can call Packers linebacker Clay Matthews a "Momma's Boy" and get away with it. Truth be told, #52 might tell you that she's been the backbone of the family from day one.

Leslie Matthews will tell you that raising the Packers star linebacker wasn't easy. These days, her son's in the business of giving out hard hits. As a youngster, he took a few of his own.

"He was a great kid, but honestly, I didn't know that he would make it to adulthood. I had a feeling he might be in a body bag. He was just, he would push it to the limit with everything he did -- from skateboarding to dragging the trampoline over and jumping off the roof and into the pool. I ended up in an ambulance with him. He was knocked unconscious from a skateboard accident," Leslie Matthews said.

Leslie Matthews' husband was at a game in New York when that happened.

Clay Matthews can refer to any one of three generations of NFL players. Green Bay's Clay Matthews III had a football playing father. Clay Jr., Leslie's husband, played linebacker for the Browns and Falcons. Her father-in-law, Clay Sr. played offensive tackle for the 49ers.

The mother of four boys and one girl -- Leslie Matthews knew what she was getting into when she got married, but she says that doesn't make watching her son any easier.

"I'm not sure I breathe during the entire game. It's tough. It's tough to watch him, and at this level, it's very physical. Particularly with the hand injury that Clay had, I know there was a lot of discussion as to 'will he play, why isn't he playing' but it was a very serious hand injury. What I can tell you is that son of mine gives his all, and he doesn't hold back anything. If he can do it, he will," Leslie Matthews said.

Leslie Matthews is working to make the game as safe as possible -- especially with concussions having become such a big issue.

"Absolutely. I'm passionate about this. Riddell has come out with the technology that goes inside a helmet to a handheld device that will alert the trainers to an impact -- and depending on the level of the impact, they can bring them out and assess exactly what happens -- whether they can go back in, whether they need to stay out. It's just an extra set of eyes to watch these kids because the coach and the trainer and the coaches cannot see everything," Leslie Matthews said.

Arrowhead High School is among the area high school teams using the Riddell helmet. Leslie Matthews encourages every football player from youth to the pros to use any piece of equipment that help protect the body -- especially the head.

"When I look at the helmets in Clay's office, what he used to play with at USC and even with the Browns and I look at my two sons in the NFL and I see their helmets, I'm grateful. Let's just put it that way. I'm just so grateful," Leslie Matthews said.

Clay Matthews' brother Casey is a linebacker for the Eagles. Their uncle, Bruce Matthews is a former offensive lineman and pro football Hall of Famer.

Their cousin Jake, Bruce's son, is an NFL offensive lineman too.