By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Each year, coaches from across the state gather to talk football. That leads to a conversation on the safety issues and the questions about how to keep athletes participating in the game.

At the annual coaches convention, they talk often about the game’s safety and perception.

“We’re having a summit, actually, in about a month, in May, where we’re bringing a lot of people together to just talk about that,” Jim Dotseth of the Minnesota Football Coaches Association said. “Bring moms, bring youth coaches and bring high school coaches.”

What has changed is in practice sessions, like at Edina where they limit contact and encourage repetition and fundamentals.

“We’ve got to make it where it’s fun, obviously, No. 1 — and No. 2 is you don’t need to have contact at practice,” Edina coach Darren Lamker said. “You know who can hit and who can’t hit, and as a coach, that’s your job to eliminate that.”

So it’s up to the coaches to educate.

“Work with the parents a little bit,” Marshall coach Terry Bahlmann said. “We share it with our moms. I do a football for moms class where we go through all the safety and tackling drills that we teach our kids. Practice — we’ve taken a lot of hitting out of it over the years in, basically, at game days, and teach a lot of technique. I feel the game’s probably never been safer.”

What they know is that the equipment and knowledge are helping move the sport forward.

“The equipment today is so safe, and especially with the technology and the way that we’re coaching the game — if I had sons they’d be playing in a heartbeat,” Lamker said.

  1. frenkeldavida says:

    How do they quantify ‘The equipment today is so safe’? The NFL uses the best equipment available and the number of concussions were up this year over last. The other big issue is that it estimated that about 20% of all football concusions are caused by the impact of the head hitting the ground. With the increase of artifical fields that had no padding the number of concussions may go up.

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