There is growing concern over the safety of the sport of football. And rightfully so. It is a collision sport, much like rugby and wrestling, and their are risks of injury. Thankfully, the game of football has gotten significantly safer over the past 10 years, and the safety of the player has now become the central focus.
The game is not the same game that was played a decade ago, and people need to be aware of the changes.
New rules—like prohibiting players to lead with the head or target the head— are being implemented to remove the head from contact as much as possible. New regulations that limit the amount of contact at practice are also reducing the frequency of collisions. And, most importantly, instruction has changed to keep the head out of the game. For instance, here at RBHS and RB Pop Warner…
- we have implemented Rugby style tackling, which removes the head from the tackling process (http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/pomerado-news/sports/sd-cm-pow-sports-rugby-0531-story.html)
- we have partnered up with SAFE Football, which teaches players how to effectively use their hands and shoulders instead of the head (https://safefootball.org/);
- we have improved our neck strengthening program, which has proven to reduce the risk of head injuries (http://www.ncaa.org/health-and-safety/nutrition-and-performance/importance-training-head-and-neck).
- we do baseline cognitive tests with our players to compare with when we suspect a concussion, remove from the game at any sign of concussion, and implement strict return-to-play protocols.
In all, the game is much safer today than it has ever been, and will keep getting safer. And we in the Bronco Football Program will continue to exceed the safety guidelines, and continue to teach the proper techniques to ensure that our players are as safe as possible on the field.