Category Archives: News Article

Football’s Risks Sink In, Even in Heart of Texas

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MARSHALL, Tex. — In many ways, this East Texas town stands as a vibrant example of the state’s storied relationship with football.

Not long ago, caravans of cars drove to Houston and Dallas to watch the Marshall Mavericks battle for the high school state football championship, and signs hanging from bridges along the interstate read, “Playoff bound.” The local sporting-goods shops would sell out of red-and-white merchandise — anything in the school’s colors — on game days.

But now Marshall represents something quite different — a shift in perceptions about football that would have been hard to imagine when the school made a cameo in the book “Friday Night Lights” nearly 25 years ago.

Amid widespread and growing concerns about the physical dangers of the sport, the school board here approved plans in February to shut down the district’s entry-level, tackle-football program for seventh graders in favor of flag football. There was little objection. (Keep Reading >>>)

Creating a safer way to practice high school football

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“Imagine if someone told you the best way to prepare for a car crash was to be in a series of car crashes each week. This is basically the logic that has permeated football practice for years.

The accepted way to prepare players for the high-speed impacts of a game was to subject them to those same impacts in practice, toughen ’em up by tenderizing them like beef. But the growing awareness and acknowledgment of the dangers of concussions and subconcussive hits has forced a sea change in football culture at the NFL level.

The days of turning players into human battering rams day after day in practice are as outmoded as the rotary telephone…” (keep reading)

Heads Up Tackling

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A.J. Sliman, right, of the Katy (Texas) Youth Football league, practices Heads Up Tackling
technique last fall. Sliman suffered a concussion in a game the year prior. (ESPN Photo)

The “solution” (or at least one of the solutions) put forth for the concussion problem is to change how the game of football is played, namely adjusting tackling form in a “safer” direction.

Here’s an interesting story that made the front page of just recently.

Questions about Heads Up Tackling By Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada

The bulk of the discussion on concussion issues centers on changes to equipment (ie. helmets and mouth guards etc) and the rules (tackling form, penalties for head to head contact, possible elimination of kickoffs etc) but interestingly, almost nothing is being said in the media in regards to changing the players themselves, which is essentially the thrust of our efforts.

It IS certainly possible to considerably strengthen the musculature involved which, in turn, helps dissipate the forces involved.

While we agree that the “heads up” movement is a step in the right direction, one of the flaws is that it ONLY deals with tackling while head to head contact is going on at many positions every single play.

As a former nose guard, I knew this full well – so any attempts to change the rules will only go so far in this regard (at least in my humble opinion.)

The article asks many of the right questions, hopefully the right folks are paying attention.

Train hard,
John Wood

Anecdotal Evidence Provides Clues to Youth Concussions

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Anecdotal Evidence Provides Clues to Youth Concussions

From the New York Times, May 5, 2013:

“Youth sports concussion clinics operate at the center of America’s heightened awareness and increasing worry about concussions among young athletes. Listening to the hundreds of stories of how concussions have occurred, examining patients and monitoring their recoveries, the doctors and staff members are a repository of anecdotal and medical concussion information.”

The rest of the article can be read HERE