The Oakland Raiders and USA Football, an amateur league, co-hosted on Saturday a training session that demonstrated ways to prevent injuries -- especially concussions -- on the field.
The training clinic was offered to Player Safety coaches who currently work with USA Football, although the hope is that the lessons learned at the session will spread quickly among youth leagues. In fact, the clinic operates similarly to a “pay it forward” scheme, only it's called "Heads up Football" in an attempt to bring awareness to concussions.
Once trained, the Player Safety Coaches will go on to train their organization’s coaches, players and parents, according to a news release.
“The biggest thing for me, the impact of USA Football on the youth level, is allowing parents to say, ‘You know what?jo My children are being taught by someone who knows what they are doing,” said David Shaw, Stanford University’s head coach in a statement.
Player Safety coaches learned proper tackling and blocking techniques, along with correct equipment fitting and hydration. The focus of the training session was identifying and caring for concussions, for which football players are at an especially high risk.
The NFL even reached a settlement brought by more than 4500 former players who suffered concussions as a result of the game. Multiple concussions can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) a potentially fatal condition.
"We're trying to teach youngsters proper techniques so when they play, they won't put their head and race in there," said John Herrernan, a football coach at Sacramento's Luther Burbank High School.
About 70 Bay Area high school and youth coaches listened, then practiced.
"What's different is the concussion protocol," explained Terry Donnell, a football coach for South Valley's Pop Warner football team in San Jose. "Before, when a kid got his bell rung, he might not come out. Now, he's going to have to be checked out by a certified medical professional."
A study by certified athletic trainers in four states found the techniques cut the number of concussions in practice and games by about a third.