Tag Archives: tackling

Former NFLer Jake Plummer Serving as ‘Heads Up Football’ Ambassador

How to make the game safer. That’s what USA Football’s ‘Heads Up Football’ program is all about.

As the sports national governing body, “USA Football…started a two-year study in 2012 that examines player health and safety in organized youth tackle football. Of the nearly 2,000 players monitored over six states the first year, fewer than 4 percent suffered concussions, and there were no catastrophic head or neck injuries reported.”

Recently a Q&A was conducted with former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer who is taking to the road in Idaho and Alaska at the start of youth football season to “reinforce the fundamentals of Heads Up Football.” Here are his answers prior to making this trip.

“Q: Why did you decide to become involved in Heads Up Football? Why is it important to you?

A: I became involved because I believe that many youth football players are being instructed incorrectly. With Heads Up Football’s basic instructions on tackling technique, I believe that many injuries can be avoided, therefore allowing young players the ability to continue playing the sport they love.

Q: What do you hope to share with the youth football players when you travel to Alaska?

A: I hope to share the Heads Up Football tackling techniques, which focus on seeing what you’re hitting and not leading with the crown of your head. I also want to share some of my experiences playing youth football, and the fact that you have to play hard and with no fear of injury, but most importantly you have to use proper technique. This means that your head is not a weapon when hitting, but instead is used to get you in the right position to hit properly.

Q: How have you seen attitudes toward sports safety change?

A: I have definitely seen a shift in attitudes about sport safety. More coaches and even the players pay closer attention to their teammates during competition, making sure they are not playing if they have sustained any sort of head injury at all. There still needs to be a monumental shift in how the game is taught to our youth. They are not highly trained athletes like those in the NFL, and they need constant coaching on proper tackling and hitting techniques.”

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Concussions: What Several Oklahoma Area Coaches Have to Say as Upcoming Season Nears

How many vicious hits have been highlighted on ESPN over the years? That definitely attracts the viewers, and excites the advertisers. Wonder how much of that will change as football kicks off this fall, or rather we should say late this summer. Dehydration is still a big concern, but now the coaching profession is forced to really rethink the way it practices, what it teaches, and maybe…how it motivates.

Hear are a series of comments from prep coaches in Oklahoma, as gathered by writer Mike Kays, sports editor at www.muskogeephoenix.com – Some will make you pause and say…”umm.”

From Sequoyah’s Shane Richardson –

“By nature of what I’ve done by trade and as a fan, I get excited about big hits, but as coaches we need to emphasize being smarter and safer and teaching the proper technique. But I don’t think you can slow the game down.

“The game’s getting more offensive in nature but the game’s still played fast and speed becomes a factor.  The more regulations we place on the game the higher the scores will be because you’ll want the kids to avoid the hits because of penalty situations.”

Webbers Falls’ Steve Corn said –

“If you limit the contact, you limit the chances of it happening. We lost one kid last year for two weeks and in 8-man, one kid can make all the difference in the world. I’d say it probably cost us one of those games not having him.”

Wagoner’s Dale Condict on the subject of ejections –

“I don’t think we need to go there. We need to make the game as safe as we can but no matter the sport, no matter the activity, accidents and injuries happen. It’s just the nature of sport.

“I think paying attention to how we allow kids to hit to a certain degree is understandable. But overreacting doesn’t need to be part of it either. It’s a violent game and there needs to be safety, but if you take too much of the aggression out of the game I think you risk taking away part of what people appreciate about the game.”

Haskell’s Greg Wilson said –

“I don’t want to downplay it by any means, but with the way social media has helped spread concern like wildfire we’re at the point where we’ll have kids who won’t be playing this year because of their fear of a concussion.”

Stigler’s Chris Risenhoover’s take on face masks –

“Before face masks, you didn’t use your head as much. No one wants to get hit in the face, but that face mask allows more of the helmet to come into the point of contact. Face masks have helped make football a more violent game.”

In the case of “the Indian Nations Football Conference — the association which many area communities link with in for elementary-age football — “tackling techniques “are undergoing significant change at that level.” To which one coach remarked, “From what they’re telling me is going on, I’ll have to relearn the game.”

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