MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Football safety in general was a hot topic for several metro coaches Sunday. By coincidence, the gathering was scheduled days after a metro high school football player collapsed.
Matt Gegenheimer is a spokesperson for the Heads Up program of USA Football and head coach at Prior Lake High School.
“Instead of brushing the problem under the rug because concussions aren’t gonna go away, we’re gonna address the issue, provide education, provide certification,” he said.
He said although they are not common in his program, he’s seen concussions up close.
“It’s hard when you walk out on the field on a Friday night and a kids laying there with a glossy look on his eyes,” he said.
He spent Sunday morning coaching other coaches on the program, talking proper hydration and new technique.
Dan Smoot is a coach with a Cottage Grove youth football program, he was in attendance.
“Teach ’em young so when they learn to tackle, they learn the right way. They learn the confidence and then they stay in the sport,” Smoot said.
Heads Up is teaching youth and high school coaches new tackle form, instead of heading right into the opponent and wrapping arms around them.
“Instead we are sliding our head to the side and our arms are coming up and under which is forcing people to keep their chest up and their head up a lot more,” Gegenheimer said.
Concussion prevention is their biggest push and they say parents are equally accountable.
“If a kid has a concussion on a Tuesday night and the coach may not see him till Thursday, the parent needs to make sure they know the information,” he said.
Gegenheimer said parents also should try to keep their players properly hydrated. Coaches know to keep water and fluids on the field, but sometimes students show up for practice partially dehydrated.
So, it’s important the night before and day of that those player drink water before they hit the field.