Interesting piece from Thayne Munce about youth football.
He asserts that youth football is doing enough when it comes to safety. He cites the NFL’s Heads Up program as evidence.
I think he’s 1/3 right. When it comes to making football safer; there arre three areas of focus:
- Training of players & coaches in safe technique
- Enforcement of rules against dangerous or unsafe technique
- Better, safer equipment
The Heads Up program addresses the first by emphasizing good tackling technique. However, I think a critical evaluation of how youth football is doing with the other two is still in order. At all levels, rules against ‘targeting, leading with the head, and hitting a defenseless player are being put in place. These rules need to be strictly enforced such that the penalties – and proper coaching – change the way players play instinctively. Finally, improvements in helmet technology and other padding can help.
I appreciate Munce’s opinion about youth football. A decent start; but more needs to be done.